For years, you might have heard that 3D printing was coming and that it was going to accomplish all kinds of great things. 3D printing has arrived, and now several industries are using it for various purposes.
We’ll take a little time to talk about some of the industries that are already using 3D printers and how they’re revolutionizing all kinds of processes.
Jewelry and Art
If you’re into jewelry and art creation, that might be one reason to look into 3D printing technology. You can use it to:
- Experiment with new jewelry-making methods and designs
- Create art using metal 3D printing
Jewelers can now use 3D printing to create unique, incredibly intricate pieces. They can use materials such as gold, platinum, and polylactic acid filament, or PLA.
Artists like Banksy are using 3D printing now. They start with a 2D work and then render it to 3D using the power binding 3D printing method.
Oliver van Herpt, the famous Dutch artist, uses 3D printing for vase creation. These vessels look a lot like Tim Burton characters.
The Prado Museum recently did a 3D exhibition. They did this so that visually-impaired people could feel the works so they could fully understand and appreciate them.
It makes sense that the construction industry could use 3D printing for many different purposes. For instance, if you work in construction, you can:
- Fabricate construction components and building models
- Use wax, foam, polymers, concrete, and other materials to produce incredibly detailed designs
You can use 3D printing for additive welding and also powder bonding, which is where you use sintering, polymer bond, and reactive bond elements for model creation. You can use this methodology in the public, private, industrial, and commercial sectors.
When you use 3D printing in these ways, it produces less waste. It also gives you greater function integration, faster construction timelines, and it lowers labor costs.
Since the 1990s, companies have worked on concrete 3D printing. Now they can use industrial, large-scale printers to construct buildings and other structures. They can build walls onsite and pour foundations with previously unobtainable precision.
Medicine often embraces technology, and 3D printing is this industry’s natural fit. Many companies are using 3D printing for bioprinting. Bioprinting is where you use biomaterials such as cells. You use them to create tissue-like constructs that imitate their natural counterparts.
You can use these processes to create medical devices, such as prosthetics. Doctors can uniquely match the prosthetics they make to each person who needs one, and they’re much better than a mass-produced one.
If you had a child who needed a prosthetic device, they had to order a new one every few months as they grew. This was very expensive. Using 3D printers, technicians can create a new one whenever a child needs it much more cheaply than before.
Medical 3D printing can also create metal orthopedic implants. 3D printing can create porous surfaces. This means the implants can easily integrate with a patient’s natural bone structure. They can grow into the implant this way, and the process is relatively unobtrusive.
Manufacturing and Prototyping
Manufacturing and prototyping are probably two of the areas that can use 3D printers the most. Prototyping is big business. In many fields, it’s a critical production aspect.
Before, most companies used the traditional injection-molded prototype system. Producing a single mold might take weeks and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This is impractical if you’re trying to work on a new design concept. 3D printing renders that whole
With this project type, 3D printing cuts down the lead times. You can fabricate a prototype within hours, not days or weeks. You can also do so much cheaper than you otherwise could. For this reason, the aerospace and automotive industries love 3D printing.
3D printing is also ideal if you have a product that you’re not going to mass-produce. A company might hire you to create a small-batch product or even a one-of-a-kind item. For this reason, there are many different companies that want to engage 3D printer services.
You can also use 3D printing for educational purposes. With it, students can create prototypes without expensive tooling needs. They can learn about this new tech and produce models they can hold in their hands.
3D printing brings images and ideas on screen or paper to life. Lots of public libraries and classrooms have them now. Many schools teaching STEM programs also use 3D printers.