3D printing is the latest technology craze to hit the United Kingdom and pretty much all of the world!
Although the concept of 3D printing has been around for several decades, it is only within the past few years that prices for small 3D printers have become affordable enough for even home users to buy (you’d have to do a lot of saving though: they cost a minimum of £800)!
OK, so 3D printers aren’t exactly cheap – yet – but they are certainly within reach of most individuals and business across Britain. But let’s be clear about one thing: they aren’t a way of churning out 1,000s of documents out in one minute or anything like that!
3D printers, as the name might suggest, have the ability to print all sorts of objects out and open up many possibilities to millions of folks that might not have been feasible in the past.
What Exactly is a 3D Printer?
A 3D printer enables you to create a three-dimensional object based on a digital model. In other words, if you use some software to design a 3D model that is compatible with the printer, you will be able to tell it to send that data to generate a real-life version of your model.
How does a 3D Printer Work?
This process is in many ways similar to how you would hit the print button from a software program and get a document printed out that looks exactly the same as on your monitor!
Although they are referred to as printers, they are technically a type of industrial robot. But let’s face it; “3D printing” sounds better than “3D roboting”, don’t you think?
Anyway, at a basic level 3D printers ‘print’ each layer of a three-dimensional object using filament such as PLA (a bioplastic made from corn), ABS plastic. You could think of the filament as ‘ink’ for this printer. This filament can be purchased in all sorts of different colours and according to managed print services London you can even buy flexible and dissolvable filament!
I could show you examples of all kinds of weird and wonderful ‘things’ that have been created by people with 3D printers, but instead I am going to run through some great practical uses for such a printer. Here we go:
1. Make Obsolete Parts
One of the most annoying things that a part manufacturer can do is to make that part obsolete. I know that manufacturing that same part forever won’t exactly make them a tonne of money, but if you’ve got an old car, for example, it can sometimes be extremely difficult to source replacement parts.
2. Make Adapters
Rather than spending a shed load of cash buying equipment to connect two different types of device together, you could manufacture your own adapter for a fraction of the cost!
3D printers could be used to create prosthetic body parts for people that are disabled or have been injured as a result of warfare.
As unbelievable as it sounds, 3D printing technology could be utilised to make food of the future! Some people are already printing out 3D objects using sugar, and there is even a company developing a 3D food printer for NASA!