5 Reasons Why 3D Scanning and Printing Have a Bright Future
The topic of 3D printing is an interesting one. It's a piece of technology that people tend to think of as either very gimmicky or extremely advanced. You're either building products at home to make your life more convenient, or you're reconstructing a human arm bone in a lab somewhere. The applications are endless, which makes the future of 3D printing something to consider.
It's unlikely that this technology will go away any time soon, but where are we most likely to see growth in the coming years? Medicine and aerospace show a lot of potential, as does the automotive industry. And, as the industry becomes increasingly democratized, it's only going to become more accessible.
Let's take a closer look at some of the industries that are expected to see more use from 3D printing in the coming years.
3D Print Speeds Will Increase By Up To 100X
Much like CD and DVD writers in the past, early 3D printing is a popular application that has been hampered by slow technology. Print rates have generally been capped by the speed at which printers can heat their materials and how much force a print head can apply.
Combined with how fast the actual head can move, there's been a notable bottleneck for some time, now.
MIT's Manufacturing and Productivity Lab recently highlighted developments in this regard. A printer that is ten times faster than any traditional desktop model, and three times faster than many industrial systems.
Clocking in with record-shattering speeds, the team managed to print off a pair of goggle frames in as little as 3.6 minutes. Compared to present standards, that's a staggering number and a great indicator of 3D printing technology future.
3D Printed Neighborhoods
Construction and real estate vendors may want to reconsider the way they do business in the next few years. 3D printed homes offering cheaper, greener alternatives to traditional construction.
When 3D printed houses originally appeared, the tech was a response to a shortage of bricklayers at the time. Now, with more businesses using 3D printing technology, the possibility of it becoming a standard is looking more like a reality.
And it makes sense that it would catch on, too. These buildings waste less cement and cost less money and fewer resources to make.
While people may not start building their own homes from scratch any time soon, a home printer can print a drainpipe, door hinge, or window sill. And, as more becomes possible, it's unreasonable to expect people not to take advantage of it.
More Education Means More 3D Printing
Of course, with the rise of any new technology, education will always be a talking point. 3D printing education, at the moment, is a major stumbling block facing many companies, but that is expected to change in the coming years.
Using 3D printing for prototyping is easier with every passing year, but there is still a lingering idea that it's more difficult than it is. Setting up 3D printing can be a challenge, but anybody can be taught, given enough time, experience, and expertise.
As new challenges arise, businesses are becoming more aware of the capabilities of 3D printing.
There's a lot more effort put into educating the market, now, than in years past.
Online courses are more common, with tradeshows adding education content and promoting a 3D printing future as viable. And, as this focus on education continues to grow, there's no reason to assume the tech won't grab even more of a foothold from year to year.
If you've followed 3D printing tech in recent years, there's a good chance you'll have recent-announcements of 3D printed meat. Plant-based proteins assembled with a 3D printer produce a realistic end-product that offers a lot of great benefits.
Looking for a more sustainable source of protein? 3D print it. Worried about the ethical issues of a meat-based diet?
You can have it both ways with a 3D printed steak. Within the next five years, you can expect 3D printed steak costs to decrease, and the quality of the meat itself to skyrocket.
3D printing has taken center stage in a lot of medical production in recent years. We see this a lot in dental work, where dentists are streamlining crown, surgical components, and aligner production. It presents a significant boost in speed than the traditional manufacturing process and is only set to improve in the coming year.
Studies indicate that 3D printer sales within the dental industry will exceed machining hardware sales by as early as 2025. Not only that, but this technology will most likely become the leader in dental restoration production by 2027.
Taking a closer look, we see this brand of 3D printing making targeted use of resin-based technologies to help give it the edge. Resin printing can produce a variety of custom devices with excellent finishes at extremely fast speeds.
This means less waiting time for implants, bridges, and caps, for better customer service, overall. If there is a 3D future, a lot of it will take place in dental offices around the country.
The Future Of 3D Printing
When 3D printing technology first became available, the world marveled at this new step in product development. In the years, since, it's become increasingly more common in the homes and offices of people around the world. And the things we've seen produced have walked a fine line between amazing and incredibly practical.
Still, even with half the world printing clips, stands, and replacement parts, 3D printing still seems complicated. It seems expensive, or something only someone with a background in engineering can really do well. And that barrier to entry is why we seem to see relatively little of it out in the wild, compared to what you might expect.
As education becomes more widespread, 3D printed meat becomes available in more places, and 3D homes become more common, this is set to change. And, if developments up to now are to be believed, the future of 3D printing seems pretty bright.
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