What You Should Know About 3D Printing

3D printing is a fascinating technology that has already impacted the world in quite a few ways, but will continue doing so. This technology has the power to save lives, provide powerful tools, change the way products are made, change the way product development testing is done, and bring manufacturing to virtually anyone with a computer and basic modeling skills. Who does this technology impact the most?

How easy is it to manufacture through this technology? What are some of the feats done by this technology? Where is it going? I'll do my best to answer those questions to the best of my ability.   3D printing is a technology that is for anyone who wants to manufacture, make, build, or design products. Anytime a person thinks of "manufacturing," the idea that thousands of dollars typically comes up. Another connotation to manufacturing is the difficulty to do it, and the need for strong logistics to bring it all together.

This is somewhat of a thing of the past now, due to 3D printing. There is really only one significant need when a person is thinking about manufacturing through 3D printing. That need is a 3D model. If the person can design on the computer, or get an artist to design for them - 3D printing is accessible. That's pretty much it. Some forms of this technology can be expensive, but you have the power to manufacture a design that you can have in your hand for less than $30. Some orders may cost multiple thousands, and some may cost less than the shipping.

There is so much variance in what you make, but ultimately - it's affordable, and available to anyone who can come up with a 3D design.

 How easy is it to manufacture through this technology? Well, if you can have a model designed like I mentioned earlier - you've done more than half the work. If you can also contact a 3D printing facility, you are almost entirely finished. It's as simple as finding an international or local printing facility, sending them the model, getting a quote, and manufacturing. That's it. 

What can be done by this technology? That is an incredibly vague question, because 3D printing can do pretty much whatever you need it to. There are well over 100 materials to choose from, so your needs can likely be filled. People are manufacturing pieces in metal, plastics, full color material, flexible material, heat resistant materials, chemical resistant materials, wax materials for casting, etc. There are so many materials to choose from and so many methods - there are just too many options. If you can design it, there is a high chance that it can be made. 

Where is 3D printing going? Like I just mentioned, this technology can make pretty much anything. People are creating jewelry, special tools for engineering, character models & art, marketing diagrams, parts applying to the military and aerospace industry, and medical applications. There really isn't a limit to what 3D printing can touch, so I can't give a definitive answer as to where this technology is heading. I can confidently tell you that it is going up at a nearly exponential rate. Material science is going to improve, giving artists and engineers more to work with.

 The speed of this technology is also going to improve. The size of models produced may improve. Also, the price may become more economical. Ultimately, this technology is going to continue expanding.

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