The future of 3D printing
- November 13, 2018
By Marcelo Ruiz Camauër
Over the past few years, 3D printing has become a simple and affordable way to manufacture prototypes and other objects, at low cost, without a great deal of skill in handling complex tools. You may have read phrases similar to this in many articles and thought that it’s more hype about a new technology that is actually useful in few occasions.
While there has been a lot of hype about everyone having a 3D printer in their home and making their own personal stuff instead of buying from large-scale manufacturers, reality is more interesting than this hyperbole.
Imagine you need to build a small (smaller than a lunchbox) object for an experiment, a prototype of a new product, a tool you need, or maybe something artsy through which to express yourself. You may have a small home tool shop, but rarely will you have significant tools available like a lathe, a bench drill, a CNC router, a laser cutter, a vacuum molding machine, and other tools more complex that require skill and a suitable shop to operate safely. You have a 3D design for this item but sending it out to be made in a professional shop will take you weeks at a significant cost.
The new accessibility of desktop 3D printers changes this situation dramatically. Now any individual or organization can have a tool that replaces the ones mentioned above, for a low cost, and can even use it in a classroom or office environment. In fact, it can take your 3D digital model and implement it directly!
Now, not only are these affordable machines that have the capability to transform manufacturing on a local scale, 3D printing is now starting to offer Cloud solutions. This means that it’s possible to run print farms, with multiple printers, all talking to each other from anywhere. The possibilities of this new development really are endless and could spell the end of long-distance shipping and manufacture.