Skip to main content

See also:

3D printers for home and commercial use

Makerbot 3D Printer
Makerbot 3D Printer
Creative Tools via Flickr

It is no secret that that 3D printing is probably one of the most revolutionary trends in our generation. The work being done in the medical field with this technology is nothing short of amazing. Professor Melissa little is currently leading a research team at the University of Queensland with a partnership from Organovo bio printing where they are researching and printing copies of a human kidney. Although transplanting printed kidneys in humans is a little ways down the road, 3D printing in the medical field is already gaining significant traction. Scientists and doctors are now able to print artificial ears and repair damage done to the face, helping many wounded vets receive treatment that was previously inconceivable. The possibilities of 3D printing in the medical field are limitless and no doubt exciting to say the least, but what about the commercial and home possibilities?

Commercial use

Many companies have seen the benefits and are using 3D printing technology in their manufacturing plants and storefronts. Nike has recently produced a shoe made primarily from 3D printed material. The shoe is a lightweight football cleat called the Vapor Laser Talon that is printed using nylon and is the first of its kind to be mass-produced using 3D printing technology. Many companies are printing products like shoes, toys and clothing; cutting down on manufacturing costs. The clothing company Continuum is using 3D printing technology to customize clothing to fit each individual customer. They have been able to produce fully customized clothing fast, cheap and without a production warehouse thanks to 3D printers. The American Aerospace company; MD Helicopters has harnessed the power of 3D printing technology and fully printed and assembled a helicopter using lightweight composites. MD says that this process will help produce airframe structures much faster than before and deliver them to the market quickly and efficiently. The commercial market is sure to benefit from the efficiency, customization and convenience of 3D printing technology.

Home use

Because 3D printing is becoming more commonplace, printers are slowly coming down in price. Although they are still in the $2,000 range, some home users will surly benefit from owning their own personal machine. Inventors, designers and engineers now have a creative outlet to physically express their ideas. For the inventor who wants to test his invention, all he has to do is print out a prototype and test it in real time without having to go through the process of sending instructions away to be manufactured. Entrepreneurs now have the ability to physically print out their ideas and show them to investors. Have a shoe design that you would like to create? Simply map it out and print it on your own personal 3D printer. With a little know-how and some 3D mapping software, you can do just about anything, and possibly even make a business out of it.

There is sure to be some interesting things to come in the word of 3D printing. Pick up your own today, get in on the revolution and see your creativity come to life.