Imagine being able to sit at home and print a phone cover, a machine part, a piece of stationery, or just a decoration for your house. That is the newest revolution in technology – generating debates and tremors all through the scientific society – 3D printing. Okay so lets start at the beginning – what is 3D printing? As the name suggests, 3D printing involves “printing” actual physical objects using simple 3D designs made on a computer using a device called a 3D printer.
It essentially uses powered metal or powdered plastic (or now even paper) to build your model layer by layer – the products are properly hard and useful – and with it you can build almost anything at a very low cost. People are experimenting on printing anything from toys, ornaments, and little tidbits to organs, space exploration vehicles, and handguns. Its an unbelievable invention – whose uses are limited only by our imaginations – we can literally make anything. And although they are still very expensive, and the materials are expensive – so its not free production (thank god) – it’s not long before they become a household sight, and materials are already becoming a lot more affordable – paper, for example. There are obviously, with any innovation in the consumer industry, economic questions being asked – companies are very scared of the idea of consumers producing their own products – but it is just like the revolution of the music and entertainment industries with the internet – there are always such fears, but it usually works out.
Meanwhile, people are captivated by the idea of designing and, without manual effort, making stuff at home. A mom’s baby stroller got spoilt – she prints the necessary part – and voila, the stroller is working again. Printing living cells is another exciting prospect for scientists – in another 20 years, there may be no need for organ donation – just print what’s needed based on your own cells. There’s one guy who’s even trying to even print his house, part by part, using a 3D printer – its unbelievable. Come up with clothes designs and print em’, or practical stuff like stationery and equpiment – the possibilities are endless – its one exciting technology isn’t it? Check out the video – www.youtube.com/PBS
Photo Credits: gizmag.com
References: Scientific American, PBS