3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing and describes the process of making solid, three-dimensional objects from a digital file; much like you will have a typed document on your screen when you press print, you receive a replica printed version, on paper, from the printer. With 3D printing, the object is made by a series of layers, known as an additive process. Each layer is laid on top of the other until the final object is created; it receives the instructions from the file that has been created.
Aside from a 3d printer kit, users will need to use a 3D modeling computer program; usually, a computer aided design file on their PC. Additionally, you can create an entirely new object using this program or, as some industry leaders have done, they have created replica object from a 3D scanning program.
The intricacy of the final object is where the delight of 3D printing lies; the program creates a detailed file, with the object contain hundreds or thousands of layers, depending on the size in the program itself. Below are some of the kinds of objects that were created with 3D printers.
Medical: Prosthetic Limbs
In a somewhat chaotic world that we live in, there are people all around the globe who, through war, conflict or disease, may have lost a limb. Moreover, it seems the 3D printed prosthetic limbs could be the answer, but more so regarding replacing missing arms. In addition, the speed of this type of printing also means that once the design has been finalized, print takes very little time.
In addition, it is not only humans, which suffer from painful accidents; horses can suffer from a disease called laminitis too. For this reason, 3D printed objects have included horseshoes, brilliant for taking the strain of a painful condition.
Industrial: Concept Cars
There are many stories of industrial applications behind 3D printed objects. Honda has, for example, started to print concept cars so avid fans of the company can download, and possibly print it themselves. These cars are not drivable – although suggestions are this is only a matter of time – and the application of the technology in this way is thought to be something that will grow and grow.
Creative Art: Statutes
There are various examples of artists doing some amazing things with the technology, but no more so than replacing laws, destroyed in conflicts over the years. A recent story is of the Buddha’s of Bamiyan in Afghanistan. After standing for over five centuries, the Taliban destroyed the giant statues in 2001. Experts are currently trying to piece them back together, using a 3D printed replica, a quarter of its original size as a guiding blueprint.