There are two concepts affecting not just business and manufacturing but many other areas of our lives including healthcare. These are 3D modeling and 3D printing.
With 3D modeling, the idea is that you’re creating a representation of the surface of an object in 3D with certain software. Then, this 3D model can be used to create a physical model with 3D printing.
The following are some of the most interesting and compelling ways 3D printing is changing the world.
3D Printing in Healthcare
The medical industry is perhaps one of the most exciting places we see the effects of 3D printing.
3D printing is providing new opportunities for different types of surgery and prosthetics, and it can be used for recreating blood vessels, organs, and bones.
Some believe that bio-printed organs are going to completely change not only health care but how long people live and how they’re living during that time. Bio-printing is something that uses ink that’s made of human tissues and cells, and most medical experts believe we could see the use of 3D printed organs in surgery by 2025.
Another way 3D printing is relevant in health care is in the printing of medications. 3D printed medications can be potentially cheaper and more practical, which means that they could be available to more people around the world.
Some of the benefits of using 3D printing in health care include the customization options and the reduced lead time.
3D printing materials tend to be lightweight, strong, and durable and they can also be sterilized with ease in most cases.
More Local Production
There has been a lot of focus on the fact that most corporations have outsourced their manufacturing around the world. This is how they reduce costs, but 3D printing could allow for more manufacturing to be done domestically.
With 3D printing, you can manufacture an entire vehicle, for example, in one place and do so in a way that’s cheaper and easier overall.
Increased Innovation and Creativity
3D printing makes it easier for not just businesses and seasoned innovators to bring their ideas to reality, but for anyone to create prototypes quickly.
If you have an idea, you could reasonably and affordably bring it to life with 3D designing and printing.
There’s a big issue throughout the U.S. and the globe as far as affordable housing, and some hope that 3D printing can help in this area.
There is a company, for example, called Winsun out of China, and they offer 3D houses that are made of recycled materials and cost under $5000 to produce. They are building housing in China already and are planning an expansion to Saudi Arabia.
What About the Potential Problems?
3D printing doesn’t come without possible problems, even though it can be very exciting to think about.
One issue is the idea of 3D-printed food, which some are pushing. Criticism points out that your body may not really be able to accept something that’s artificially made at the genetic level. There is a worry that even though it might be okay in the short-term, that’s not necessarily the case in the long-term.
Another issue is the fact that laws aren’t yet up to date with what 3D printing is capable of.
A specific growing concern is the creation of 3D printed guns. Recently, a blueprint for a 3D printed gun called The Liberator was posted online. The plans were then downloaded 100,000 times before ultimately, the State Department had them taken down.
Other 3D Printing Applications
Finally, beyond things like health care, manufacturing, and housing, the following are some of the other things that we might see 3D printing affecting:
- The construction industry may see effects. Yes, there is the idea of 3D printing entire homes, but the construction process itself could benefit from 3D printing. For example, it could help create a more modern, streamlined overall building process.
- If you have issues around your home, such as repairs that need to be made, 3D printing might come to the rescue. You could fix light switches or other simple things throughout your home with the use of 3D printing, so you don’t have to hire someone to help you.
- 3D printing is being used to accelerate the space program in the U.S.
If you’re ever worried about finding certain parts, for pretty much anything, soon you might be able to order the specifications and then print them at home, even for parts that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to find anymore.