Before 3D printing became available for consumers, people just imagined a device that could connect to their computers so they can print a physical object. But now that imagination has become a reality. The future is here and 3D printing is here to stay. With 3D printing, people can have tangible goods and with intangible services delivered right to our desktops and/or high street shops online. In today’s modern world where 3D printing exists, the everyday “atomization” of virtual objects into hard reality is paving the way for mass pre-production and stock-holding for a variety of goods into no more than an historical legacy.
It’s like the stuff from the movies but in reality, 3D printers that are actually capable of producing physical objects have been in existence for over 30 years. But it is just only recently that 3D printing technology has presented itself for a multitude of new digital manufacturing capabilities. And soon enough, we will see 3D printing being utilized for manufacturing what computers and the Internet has already done.
As for commercial 3D Printers and their online services, people today have already access to them. Many various commercial 3D printers are available from a wide range of manufacturers which are being used for industrial applications. The two largest makers are 3D Systems and Stratasys. There are also other large 3D printer manufacturers like Archam, ExOne, and Organovo, who specialize in using different materials for their 3D printers. You may have also heard of 3D printer manufacturers such as EnvisionTEC, EOS, Voxeljet, SLM Solutions, and Optomec. These manufacturers also have different applications for their 3D printers based on materials to be used.
Take note that prices for these commercial or industrial 3D printers are high up in the $10,000 to $20,000 bracket and can even spiral upwards to $100,000 or more for very-high-end machines. It all depends on the capabilities of these printers and the materials that it uses to create the solid objects.
If you just need to print a 3D design for yourself and not necessarily for any commercial or industrial use, you can get it done through a one-stop provider of 3D printing, rapid prototyping, 3D scanning, production 3D printing, and additive manufacturing services. Such is Adaptive Designs, an Orange County 3D Printing company, which offers multiple 3D printing services in-house and done right at their Orange County facility. The best part of having these 3D printing companies is that as a consumer, you don’t have to purchase your own 3D printer since they can assist you with a wide range of additive manufacturing solutions, that way you can complete ideas and/or bring them to market.
3D printers really have a lot of promising areas of potential future application. Let’s say you need a spare part of a certain item. With 3D printers, you can recycle broken items instead just by getting appropriate spare parts printed as long as you have the design which the printer can interpret. The government is also putting 3D printers to good use. For example, NASA has announced its requirement for 3D printers with high resolution for the production of spacecraft parts for their deep space missions. Even the US Army has been experimenting with 3D printers that can be mounted on trucks which will provide assistance in making spare tank or vehicle components in the battlefield.
Other future applications for 3D printers include creating buildings using concrete. There’s also the brilliant idea of using of 3D printers to make replacement organs for the human body and this bioprinting application is currently in an area of rapid development.