Nov 12, 2012

Posted by jinson on Monday, November 12, 2012
3D printer craft
Three-dimensional printing is causing a huge buzz in the technology world, and was celebrated by Forbes as a potential world-changing invention. However, 3D printing isn’t printing in the traditional sense of ink on paper; to understand the close-to-perfected invention of 3D printing you’ll need to rethink “printing” as you know it.

How does 3D printing work?

Three-dimensional printing is based on the same basic concept as a 2D printer: ink is taken from a well in the printer and distributed onto the printed material. The printer in your home or office would stop here, but 3D printers take it to the next level — they distribute the material inside (usually a powdered material or liquid metal) layer by layer, and fuse each layer together with a laser.

What is 3D printing used for?

3d printing laptop craft
Many industries have found uses for 3D printing. Medical industries have especially embraced the new technology, benefiting from the ability to produce any item on location. 3D printers have produced human tissue, prosthetic limbs, and even a transplant-ready jawbone!

What is perhaps even more amazing is that creating architectural structures is now possible through 3D printing. Soon entire buildings will be able to be constructed via 3D printers, which could be utilized in disaster situations and everyday construction alike.

What is the future of 3D printing?

Three-dimensional printing faces several distinct avenues for growth in the future. The company Made In Space is experimenting with using 3D printers to produce materials in space, to relieve the amount of materials that astronauts carry with them into space. The U.S. Army already uses 3D printers to create spare parts for machines while in the field. The complete lack of excess material has made this technology very appealing to a several different industries.
3D printer

There are a few open-source 3D printer designs available today. A casual user can use their open source 3D printer at home to create a range of necessities, ranging from household cleaning chemicals to chocolate frosting.
Three dimensional printing is not without controversy; sticky intellectual property issues surround the remanufacturing of designs out of thin air, and hackers have uncovered the potential for new varieties of crime.  But many people (including the entire country of Great Britain!) have already embraced 3D printing as the way of the future. People love 3D printing, and it is definitely here to stay.

What do you like or dislike about 3D printing? Do you want to try this technology yourself? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author: Andrew Yeung is president of CompAndSave, a leading online provider of premium printer ink cartridges, including remanufactured and compatible printer ink cartridges. With deals every month and a 1-year guarantee of quality, CompandSave provides an easy way for people and businesses to purchase printer ink and accessories.

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