3D printers are revolutionizing manufacturing, and they’re here to stay. The first industrial printers appeared in the 1980s for rapid prototyping. By the mid-90s, desktop 3D printers were available, but they were pricey and few people knew about them.
Finally, 3D printing became popular with hobbyists and desktop engineers in the 2010s. Today most people have heard of it, even if they don’t own a 3D printer themselves.
Right now 3D printing is close to its peak. It’s used in many industries, from medicine to product design. Here’s a brief look at why 3D printing is so popular, and how you can use it in your business.
Why 3D Printers Are So Amazing
3D printers are popular because they are fun to use and can make new objects quickly. Hobbyists and professional 3D makers use design programs like Solidworks and 3d printers to make their ideas come to life.
3D printing uses different materials, including plastic, metal, and even concrete. Engineers and designers make models all the time that they use to present their ideas to colleagues and clients.
Most of the time small-scale printing works well for this, but 3D printers also exist in a range of sizes. The smallest can make jewelry and miniatures on a desktop, while large machinery handles architectural 3D printing.
What Industries Use 3D Printers?
3D printing offers so many possibilities for use in industry, this list is only partial. Here are a few categories that benefit from this new technology, and likely will continue to do so.
Pastry chefs can program their own 3D desserts and produce them to order. White and dark chocolates are particularly suited to 3D printing because they start the process in liquid form and cool into sculptural shapes.
The space and airline industries use metal 3D printers for rapid parts prototyping. This allows them to engineer quickly and efficiently, whether they’re working on the next rocket, airplane, or pocket drone.
Doctors and medical device designers use 3D printing to make custom orthotics, prosthetics, models for surgery practice or education, and more. 3D printing is an affordable, fast, and efficient way to build customized treatment options.
Dentists use 3D printing to make molds and models of patients’ teeth. They use this technology to create custom tooth crowns, which saves time and money.
Marketing companies use 3D printing for small promotional items, like can openers and keychains. They also create large-format displays for events and venues.
Engineering and Construction
3D printing is especially popular in engineering and construction. Rapid prototyping is useful because multiple design iterations are common. Clients also like to request models or working prototypes.
Discover the Best Printers for Your Business
If you want to explore using 3D printers in your business, start by finding out what’s popular in your industry. You can study popular models like Makerbot 3D or Stratasys 3D printers to get an idea of their capabilities.
After you narrow down your options, see if you can try out 3D printing at a local makers club. This will help you get a feel for how the process works and imagine how you can use it in your company.
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