What Lies Ahead for 3-D Printing?
3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing and to put it simply, it turns 3D digital models into 3D solid objects with great detail. 3D printing was invented in 1980s and it has been revolutionized since then and in the last few years, it has been massively used as a next-generation manufacturing technology. Using this technology, one can make easily make final products and spare parts in no time.
What lies ahead?
3D printing has already gone to the next level as we can make thermoplastics, thermoplastic composites, and a whole lot of things. However, it is still being used as a manufacturing technology but the future will bring lots of huge changes in it. The combination with synthetic biology and nanotechnology will surely transform the production and logistic process. As we know that 3D printing encompasses a huge number of additive manufacturing technologies. 3D printing has already been so revolutionized that it is possible to build objects in successive layers of about 0.1mm width.
Localized production at its best
In the near future, we will be seeing the local production of the good will be at its best. There’s a reason why the co-founder of Twitter recently made a prediction that Nike could be a purely software company in the coming few years and if that happens, it will all have been made possible thanks to 3D printers. Knowledge is power and this phrase will come in handy in the near future as everything you know will be made closer to you. If, let’s say, a part of your dishwasher gets broken, all you have to do is look that part up on the internet and print it out at your home or commercial 3D printer. You will be able to make 3-D printed custom shoes and to add to this, when the kids outgrow these shoes, you can simply put the old pair in the recycler to get a new pair that fits.
It will much more convenient, faster and cost-efficient to produce our own consumer goods. With the passage of time, we will be seeing more and more digital 3D printing factories. If your company already participates in global supply chain, then it faces a threat because the localized production of the goods will strongly compress or even eliminate food chains.
Custom Production Materials
Not long from now, we will have access to custom production materials and imagine how fascinating it would be to actually customize the production material. It will have most uses in biology as doctors are already studying 3D printing in depth to devise knee replacements for people. In the short future, the material itself will have the capability to hold pain medication along with antibiotics that will make it a revolutionary invention.
If you’re already shocked about the future of 3D printing, then the next news will take you by storm. Have you ever wondered if the Superman’s bulletproof outfit could become a reality? Well, it sure does seem so as the doctors are testing 3D printing with Graphene which is a flexible material yet it is 100 times stronger than steel. If this becomes successful, it will completely change the future of healthcare.
Jennifer Lewis and her team at Harvard have already made a lithium-ion battery that works like a normal battery but the shocking fact is that it is only the size of a grain of sand. These batteries have this tremendous capability to produce shocking results as they can be installed in Tiny robots, to power miniature medical devices and in several other fields. If you have heard even a bit about the fabrication of really small particles to atom and molecules. Well, now with the help of 3D printing, it is possible to create rapid prototypes of micro and nano-structures quite easily.
Now that you have an idea where 3D printing can take us, do you think you’re ready for 4D printing? 4D printing, to put it simply, means that you create an object using 3D printing and that object has the capability to self-assemble or change shape at some point in the future. The object will have the functionality to change its shape when the temperature or surrounding environment changes. This is the fourth dimension that will totally revolutionize the world of printing. Skylar Tibbits at MIT is studying this technology and it will have huge number of implications for both users and industries.
It is only a matter of time when 3D printing becomes common and it will have huge impact on the biggest industries at present. Objects will be made that will automatically react to the surrounding and environment with micro sensors installed in them to help us with our needs and all our requirements.