The 3D Printing Craze Is Only Getting Started

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Even when you are not into technology, you are most likely familiar with 3D printing. The technology saw a surprisingly warm welcome from the general population. In fact, it sparked interest in 3D modeling and 3D printing across the globe.

The introduction of Electric 3D Printing by Adrian Bowyer received the same warm welcome. It is a technology that many now see as the future of 3D printing. Even better, experts are saying that the rapid development of 3D printing is still in its early stages.

So, what does the future hold for 3D printing? Is it going to get better? Let’s find out.

The Era of Accurate 3D Printing

One thing that today’s 3D printers struggle with is accuracy. Yes, it is now possible to print a fully-functional 3D object from a computer model. But, depending on the 3D printer used in the process, you may end up with a smooth model – with moving parts already assembled – or a rough 3D-printed object that requires further processing.

That last part is one of the reasons why the application of 3D printing is relatively limited. While industries are using 3D printing to produce everything from model parts to an entire house, the process still require a big investment (i.e. a lot of time, energy, or money).

The introduction of electric 3D printing is a step in the right direction. The technology behind the process itself is different than what modern 3D printers now utilize. A reverse CT-scan printing process, where the printer scans through polymer to hardens it and shapes the printed object, is the way of the future indeed.

3D Printing on a Larger Scale

One challenge that the 3D printing industry now faces is scaling up. Most 3D printers on the market are geared more towards rapid prototyping rather than mass production. For rapid prototyping, the current technology is bringing a long list of benefits. As a way to mass produce items, however, more advancements are needed.

The printing time of modern 3D printers, for instance, is still too long for mass production. Some objects take as long as a couple of days to fully print. The reason behind the long printing time is the use of layers (slices) and how they need to be printed one layer at a time. Experts like Bowyer are working on a solution to this.

Electric 3D Printing

Aside from offering a better, more accurate way to print 3D objects, electric 3D printing answers another big challenge of the industry: speed. By using multiple electrodes to channel electricity, electric 3D printers will not be constrained by layers and complexity of the printed objects.

In fact, the printing time has the potential to be shortened by a whopping 90% once the technology matures. This new technology will not only affect rapid prototyping but also make mass production of 3D objects possible. It is only a matter of time before items we use every day are produced using 3D printers.

Photo by Dima Valkov from Pexels