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Where technology, design and craftsmanship meet lays the 3D printer, a modern machine that can engineer a 3D object from the bottom up by “printing” layers of material. The first 3D printer made its mark as just a prototype tester back in the 1980’s but that technology has given way to a whole new world of accessibility. With 3D printing, engineers have developed inexpensive prosthetics customized for the individual, ecological cars that can go from concept to production in months and radical new ways to conceive and produce art. Not to mention, the open-source initiative that has allowed local makers and DIYers to collaborate and fabricate 3D printed items in their own homes. Keep reading to see five ways 3D printing is changing how we create!
It should come at no surprise that where the 3D printing community has had the greatest benefit is in the field of health care, especially with prosthetics. Traditional prosthetics are expensive, but once you remove the outdated, costly manufacture process by using 3D printing technology, prosthetics can be developed at a fraction of their price and in a number of modern designs. 3D scanning and custom prosthetic covers, like UNYQ, make modern prosthetics more customized to the wearer than ever before.
A 3D-printing pioneer for edible consumption is Chef Jet, the first company to release a commercial kitchen-ready 3D printer. Not only does this machine take the guesswork out of cooking and baking, but it is able to construct shapes out of sugar and chocolate that cannot be replicated by hand. The hope for this technology is that it amps up flavor, texture, creativity and the overall experience of dining.
With the introduction of specialized paste extruders, 3D printers can now create vessels from clay. And while they won’t ever be able to fabricate the uniqueness of hand-thrown pottery, this precision can open up new possibilities in the world of pottery. The unconvential geometrical structure, like Valissa Butterworths collection, is just the beginning of his exciting new technology.
With 3D printing, there is always a fear that large-scale automation will lead to unemployment and a loss of craftsmanship. However the folks behind the Divergent Blade super-car are saying the opposite. This new sustainable car manufacturing process requires less material resources, and yet produces stronger, more efficient vehicles with less production waste and a faster turnaround. The only way this process works is if the cars are made locally by skilled technicians in micro-factories around the USA and not overseas.
There are a number of engineers designing 3D printers to build textiles out of plastic, but Electroloom was the first of it’s kind to develop a liquid nano-fiber solution to create seamless fabrics out of cotton or polyester. Unfortunately Electroloom has since closed production, but innovation in the field is still pushing forward with the rise of 3D weaving.
Did we miss any areas where 3D printing has made an impact? Let us know in the comments below!