3D Printing – 3D Printers and its Various Applications
We’ve all arrived at a technological age where the gadgets and other technological advances displayed in sci-fi films and TV shows a couple of decades ago are now a reality, minus the teleportation and time travel. Other than that, we have progressed into creating a gadget that will create something and anything. This gadget is called a 3D printer. It is basically a printer, but it prints 3-dimensional physical objects out of digital data from CAD programs. Anything rendered into a CAD program will be converted into a series of instructions that is understood by the printer. The render or image is then sliced up into thousands of horizontal layers, and printed layer by layer. Think of it as a virtual cake, but with thousands of layers.
3D printing allows you to print anything, from a mobile phone casing to shoes to headwear to prosthetics to scale models. But does it have any real life application or contribution to any industry?
Believe it or not, the prosthetics and medical equipment team have already embraced the idea of 3D printing with open arms. Specialists in Belgium were able to give an 83 year old woman a jaw implant, which was a titanium-plated 3D printed jaw. Surgeons are able to work a 3D printer together with a CAT scan to replicate the size and shape of tumours. Soon, doctors will be able to create prosthetic limbs straight out of a 3D printer.
3D printers can also aid in developing 3D prototypes, or rapid models. These models can range from cars to rocket ships to organs. This would make the job of R&D departments a lot easier because they already have a physical representation of the object they are working on.
3D printers give new meaning to the words “customized gift items”. Gone are the days where you print out a photo of a friend or lover and place them in a makeshift doll. With a 3D printer, you can actually create a doll or figurine version of that special person. 3D printers are also able to print out existing figurines and sculptures too.
3D printers are also capable of printing out car parts. Andy Green is set to break the world record for land speed this year and he will be doing it in a car that has been fitted with 3D printed compounds. Even his steering wheel was printed out to provide a custom fit for the driver.