5 interesting applications of 3D printing

It is a given fact that 3D printing is a revolutionary technology. While some naysayers say there is more hype than content surrounding 3D printing, we believe there are concrete ways in which this technology can impact our day to day lives and make this world a better place. Below listed are seven ways 3D printing could impact our lives.

 1. Food:

Printed food may not sound appetizing to the ears, but very soon we are going to see the concept of printed food. And printing food has various advantages. Currently, there is lot of food wastage happening as restaurants have to prepare various food items upfront. With printed food concept, restaurants can print the food as and when customers order food. This brings down the cost and wastage. Chefs can create elaborate chocolate designs as per customer taste. NASA has also been looking into pizza printers for its hungry astronauts and other printers dedicated to pasta, corn and candy hint at the possibilities for food fabrication.

2. Body Parts:

Many believe 3D printers can save and change lives by printing organs on demand. Current approach of transplantation is highly ineffective. There are millions of patients across the world waiting for organ donations. Also,  storage and transportation of organs is a very complex process. So, if 3D printers can print the organs, it can significantly shorten the waiting time period. So far, scientists have printed ears, kidneys and bones. Although, organ functionality is a work-in-progress, it is very likely that 3D printing will make huge contributions to the field of medicine over the next few decades.

3. Personal Figurines & Gifts:

One major current application of 3D printing is the creation of personal figurines & custom gifts. A few years from now, one needn’t go to a gift shop to buy a nice gift. All one needs to do is to open a website, select the kind of gift one wants to print and then just print the gift. One can thus choose from a wide variety of items and present a custom gift. Also, one can have personal figurines printed to cherish one’s precious moments. All customers have to do is strike a pose for 15 minutes while the scanner takes a digital model.

4. Toys:

One major application of 3D printing can be printing custom toys. Many would love to have printed models of characters in various games like Minecraft. There are some application that allow you to take objects from in-game world and convert them into ready-to-print 3D models.

5. Homes:

So far we have heard of building homes. But what about printing homes. Looking at the way some Chinese companies are already printing 3D houses, we believe 3D printing of houses will soon be a reality. One Suzhou-based construction materials firm Winsun is responsible for this 3D printing of houses. The firm took standard CAD designs for buildings and printed out their walls by using a machine that extrudes a mix of high-grade cement and recycled glass fiber, layering it until the wall is finished. In a similar fashion, the firm also printed various fittings that would be needed to bring the building up to standard. All parts were then moved from the factory to the building site and the buildings are assembled on-site.  Once 3D printing of houses get standardized, it will solve one major problem various governments are facing – Housing for all.

6. Jewelry:

By using 3D digital and 3D printing technology, the transformation from the traditional production model to digital and rapid jewelry production solution in jewelry industry could be realized.

7. Education & Research: 

3D printing, and open-source 3D printers, in particular, are the latest technology making inroads into the classroom. 3D printing allows students to create prototypes of items without the use of expensive tooling required in subtractive methods. Students design and produce actual models they can hold. The classroom environment allows students to learn and employ new applications for 3D printing.

Image Credit: Creative Tools (flickrhandle: Creative_Tools)

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