3D printing is an extremely promising technology that has the potential to change the principles of production of many things. In addition, the use of 3D printers will significantly reduce the production time of various products and reduce their final cost. Let’s consider in which areas the use of 3D-printing is most promising, what the future of this technology is and how quickly it will develop.
- Relevance of 3D-printing
- Prospects for 3D printers in various spheres
- The future of 3D printing
- Unexpected possibilities of 3D printing
- On whom does the future of 3D printing depend?
- What is in store for 3D printing in the next few years?
- A revolution in materials
- What are some unusual future technology projects?
Relevance of 3D-printing
3D-printing technology is relevant due to its ease of use and time savings in the production of various types of products.
Also, 3D printing provides a high-precision reproduction of the necessary shapes and details of a particular object. In this case manual labor is practically reduced to zero, which means that the cost of the operator and maintenance of 3D-printer will be minimal. Subsequently, this will reduce the cost of the finished product.
Thanks to such advantages, 3D printing is successfully used in many industries and in everyday life.
Prospects for 3D printers in various spheres
3D printing technology has quite a lot of prospects if it is used correctly. The following spheres of activity are most in need of 3D printing services:
- Construction. In the construction business, 3D-printing can be a great help to traditional construction methods. As this technology does not require a large number of people to perform heavy labor. A few operators and craftsmen are enough to operate the construction 3D printer. The first successful experiments to produce construction parts and build houses have already been conducted in China and the UAE.
- Electronics. In the manufacture of digital devices, 3D printing will reduce the time required to produce labor-intensive parts, microchips, and hardware electronics. In particular, the first samples of graphene batteries, which have an unlimited service life, are already being developed through 3D printing.
- Machine building and automotive industry. In this area, three-dimensional printing is used to create experimental models of future parts and components, which subsequently allow for the production of products of ideal quality. It is possible thanks to detailed working out of three-dimensional object during its creation and printing of ready computer model, which is notable for high level of detail.
- Aerospace industry. The use of 3D printing in this industry is explained by the possibility of creating innovative structures of any complexity. Parts of satellites, rockets and other space objects are printed from metal, polymers and other types of heavy-duty materials.
- Medicine and pharmaceuticals. In medicine, 3D printing technology is extremely important. That is why it is studied in this industry in great detail. Using a 3D printer, it is possible to print prototypes of human organs, prostheses, bone tissue implants. The first steps are even being taken to design and print real organs that will fit well in the human body. In the pharmaceutical industry, 3D printing is mostly used to create pills that will gradually release active ingredients after ingestion.
- Advertising. For advertising purposes, prototypes of various products, demonstration and handouts are printed on a 3D printer.
- Food industry. Food 3D printers are particularly interesting because they allow the creation of edible objects from familiar products. Three-dimensional printing makes it possible to create unique decorations and complex multi-color objects with high detail.
The future of 3D printing
3D printing, if properly developed and studied, will be more accessible in the future. As 3D printers will be commonplace as a work unit in many fields. At the same time, the prices of such equipment are likely to fall. As they will be produced by different companies in large quantities to meet the demand of all customers.
The great demand for 3D printing will entail the development of new types of 3D printers and materials for creating products.
Also, for more volumetric 3D printing, large-size equipment will be created that will allow printing very large products for construction, engineering and other types of industry.
Unexpected possibilities of 3D printing
In addition to the standard creation of three-dimensional objects, the development and 3D printing of unique and individualized products is also available on a 3D printer. Their shape, structure, and design features are limited only by the user’s imagination. It is possible to produce unusual products. For example, melting ice sculptures, shaped perfectly fried pancakes or fine jewelry.
On whom does the future of 3D printing depend?
First and foremost, the future of 3D printing development depends on inventors who create new types of printers and develop new printing technologies depending on the type of material used. More often than not, 3D-printing innovations appear in research centers, industrial enterprises, and technical departments of various universities. This is due to the fact that people working in such institutions are interested in the development of new technologies. As innovations will help to improve and improve the processes of creating products in specific areas. In addition to researchers and students, a large number of developments are carried out by children and amateurs of 3D-printing. For example, the invention of the first prosthesis printed on a 3D printer belongs to 17-year-old Easton LaChapelle.
In addition to inventors, organizations that sponsor new developments are also responsible for the steady development and improvement of printing methods.
Synopsis. Three companies, Shapeways, Sculpteo and Materialise, are considered to be the best known in the field of 3D printing. They are engaged in the professional development and release of new models of 3D-printers, materials, as well as the improvement of existing technologies and the creation of new ones.
What is in store for 3D printing in the next few years?
Experts in the field of 3D-printing in 2021 make the following predictions of its development:
- The proliferation of 3D printing will be massive. 3D printing studios will be about as widespread as photocopying and printing studios. 3D-printing will be carried out both on standard models and on individual projects.
- Small-scale production of various items will completely switch to 3D-printing technology. This will help to significantly reduce the price of finished products.
- Medical scientists will master creation of full-fledged and fully compatible organs on a 3D printer, which will be printed from fissile human cells.
- After expert examinations confirming the safety of 3D printing when used for construction purposes, many companies in this industry will start using powerful industrial printers to create the necessary building elements. In doing so, the time to build houses will be reduced and the proportion of hired workers who do the hard work will be reduced.
A revolution in materials
The standard in 3D printing on a printer is to use plastic materials as a filament. However, the development of the technology continues at an accelerated pace. Because of this, innovative materials such as:
- Metal powder. This material is mixed with the polymer during printing and is used in laser metal sintering technology. Products printed from a mixture of polymer and metal powder have increased strength comparable to real metal.
Graphene. This carbon material is used for experimental purposes to develop a new composite. Ideally, a graphene sheet printed on a 3D printer will have a thickness equal to one molecule. The weight of the material will be lighter than air, but its strength properties will be very high – the sheet is ten times stronger than steel.
- Ceramic foam. This kind of material has flexible characteristics that can be changed depending on the purpose of use. It is possible to print a very light figure as well as a heavy monument from the ceramic foam on a 3D printer. In theory, the development already exists. But it requires a number of tests and stabilization of functional properties.
What are some unusual future technology projects?
Among the unusual 3D technologies of the future, special attention should be paid to:
- The creation of individualized clothing and shoes, which will be made based on 3D body scans;
- Make-up created by special portable 3D printers, which is very fast and yet very accurate at creating fine details;
- Bioprinting with living cells and creation of tissues and organs from hydrogel.
3D-printing has very great prospects in various spheres of industry and human life. The technology will make it possible to replace hard human labor, print cheaper products with consistently high quality. However, it is not possible to use 3D-printing in all spheres right away. This will require many years of testing and a number of expert examinations.