3D printing is an interesting solution which might completely alter industry as we know it. And that’s not an exaggeration. Not so long ago this would’ve seemed like an outlandish tale, but now this perspective is confirmed even by the biggest research companies.
According to them 3D printing has an extremely bright future ahead of it. According to a Deloitte report, 200 thousand 3D printers were sold in 2015 and that number was half of the sum total of these devices sold since the mid 1980s. Context predicts that in 2017 up to a million 3D printers will be sold and in 2020 the number will be as much as 8 million devices. Wohlers Associates predicts that the 3D printer market will be worth 7 billion dollars in 2016 and will almost double—to 13 billion dollars—in 2018.
Why is the future of 3D printing so bright? Because it’s being increasingly applied in industry. It’s less expensive and faster than what is used right now. Moreover, its possibilities are practically infinite. One of the fields in which it will be used more and more is the construction industry. UAE minister Mohammed Al Gergawi referenced research which indicated that modern solutions can reduce the time needed to construct a building by up to 70 per cent and reduce its cost by up to 80 per cent. Perhaps this is why the UAE devised a plan which states that until 2030 each fourth building in Dubai will have been made with the use of 3D printing.
This solutions will also be applied in manufacturing food. Barilla, a company known for pasta, is already conducting tests of printing its products. Furthermore, the Foodini Printer will let you print courses consisting of cake, meat and potatoes. 3D printing is already being used to manufacture chocolates. Thanks to this technology it’s possible to create complex designs, too difficult for a human confectioner. The downside is that printing a single chocolate takes almost one and a half hour. If food printers appear in our homes, anyone will be able to design and print out their own, unique chocolates. You can’t find a better Valentines gift.
— Zortrax (@Zortrax_3D) 7 grudnia 2016
3D printing is also the future of medicine. In Australia a patient was implanted with printed cervical vertebrae. In Brasil a prosthesis of a shell was printed in order to save the life of a tortoise. 3D printing is already being used to create prostheses, and in the future it will also create skin, exoskeletons for paraplegic and quadriplegic persons as well as complete organs. It will also be more efficient than other manufacturing technologies since any such element needs to be perfectly fitted to its particular user. After all, it’s supposed to be an integral part of the body or at least provide the body with assistance.
3D printers for anyone
The biggest advantage of 3D printers, however, is that anyone will be able to own such a device. A simple printer will cost no more than a few thousand dollars and as time progresses, printers will become even cheaper and more widespread. Thanks to them you won’t have to shop for everyday items or spare parts, you will be able to print many of them at home. This means you won’t have to pay for goods, just for their models. It’s a fascinating vision of the future, one in which trade and manufacturing will be perceived in a totally different way from what it’s like today. This revolution will stem from 3D printing technology.