Whether or not you’ve heard of 3D printing, chances are it’s about to change your life. It may have been hard to imagine that this technology would have such a major impact when it was first invented in 1983, however, now it is easy to see the many implications that 3D printing will have on the world.
What exactly is 3D printing? 3D printing is a way to manufacture three-dimensional, solid objects from a digital file. The virtual design is created using computer aided design, or CAD, software, which is fed to the 3D printing machine to provide instructions on what is needed. Based on these coded instructions, the machine will then begin to create the desired object, piecing it together in thin, horizontal layers until complete.
Does this sound confusing? Think of it this way: when you print a document using a regular, ink-jet printer at home, the printer will know where to place ink dots and where to leave the paper blank in order to create a physical replica of what you have on the screen. 3D printing works the same way, however it produces a 3D replica of an object using a variety of materials instead of ink.
This new technology is now revolutionizing manufacturing processes all over the world. Not only does 3D printing make it easier for companies to create intricate, custom objects, but it also reduces the time and costs associated with manufacturing.
You may encounter items that have been manufactured through 3D printing throughout your life. Have a medical emergency? It has already been used to efficiently create more intricate, customized items in the medical industry such as prosthetics and surgical equipment. Traveling? 3D printing is now being used to manufacture lighter weight parts for planes. Buying a home? The structure of your new home could be manufactured using this technology. The future opportunities with 3D printing are endless, and many experts believe that consumers will eventually be able to custom create, order and print everything from 3D printed jewelry to pizzas!
No matter where you live, what you do for a living or how much money you make, 3D printing will change the way you live your life in the near future. Learn more about its incredible impact in this infographic created by Brilliance.