Triggered by dramatic events there has been controversy in the US surrounding the issue of gun control. Throughout the course of this intense emotional issue, (and to make matters worse) the notion of using 3D printers to print ammo cartridges (as well as simple guns) has surfaced. Naturally, upon hearing this certain people are beginning to question the usefulness of 3D printers. Well, rest assured, 3D printing is an amazing technology that should not be limited or infringed upon in any way. You’re about to see 5 real-world examples of 3D printing in use (or soon to be) that perfectly demonstrate just how incredible the technology really is. So put your fears to rest and learn about how this emerging technology might soon radically transform our world.
Although many might not be currently aware of it, researchers have already begun using 3D printing in tandem with sophisticated supercomputers to devise solutions for combating afflictions such as cancer. In essence, they’re moving to print individual molecules so that they can better combat certain types of illnesses. We’re talking about compounds that are “designed”, where every atom is specifically placed according to the wishes of its creator. Obviously, this is a significant breakthrough not just for science or the medical establishment, but for the entire human race. Now it might be possible to quickly develop new drugs that not only work better, but are also safer and pose a smaller list of harmful side effects.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing examples of 3D printing is a case from February of 2012 involving a woman receiving an entirely new jawbone. Although it seems like something you might hear in a Star Trek episode, it is now possible to replace parts of the human skeletal system with a 3D printer that are incredibly accurate and form-fitting. In this particular instance, titanium powder was used along with heat to fashion the jawbone, afterwards it was coated in a bioceramic mixture to prevent rejection. Certainly this opens the door for even more amazing potential uses for 3D printing with regards to replacing static body parts.
When it comes to manufacturing, 3D printing is likely to entirely replace traditional methods of production. Anyone who has been involved in (or been around) a manufacturing operation for any length of time knows that many individual steps are involved in creating something fairly basic. This is because it takes time to set up, calibrate, and maintain traditional CNC machines and/or those devices which help to construct things. Likewise, once you get things set up to produce one particular object, it’s simply not efficient to switch over to something different. When 3D printers are used in a manufacturing capacity you can not only get things done faster, you can also produce parts “on-demand”; meaning, the entire operation can become infinitely more fluid. The reason behind this is simple: traditional manufacturing tends to be largely “subtractive” in nature; meaning, you start with something solid and melt it down or cut and chip away at it until it takes on the shape you desire. 3D printing on the other hand is “additive”; meaning, there is very little waste and not nearly as much energy consumed to achieve similar results.
Pre-fabricated home design
Recently, architects and human rights activists have been exploring the notion of using 3D printers to essentially produce simple home designs which can be quickly assembled. This not only gives architects more of a direct path toward exploring new design concepts which (thanks to the 3D printer) perfectly maintain their desired proportions, it also provides a way for humanitarians to combat important social issues, like homelessness and those affected by natural disasters.
3D printers in the homes of the average consumer
Lastly, imagine a future where you no longer have to order an object or device through the internet and wait for its arrival in the mail. 3D printers might soon allow the average consumer to simply “print” items at home instead of actually going out and shopping or making purchases online. Of course this approach won’t work with everything (yet), but it could prove to be extremely useful for a wide range of things from producing basic household chemicals to physically printing out basic machines that can later be assembled.
We shouldn’t let the “fear mongers” dissuade us from collectively exploring 3D printing; it’s actually one of the most groundbreaking concepts to ever emerge, after all. Remember, for every perceived negative use of the technology there will be multiple examples of how it can be used in a positive manner. Many scientists and trending experts agree that 3D printing is very likely to completely revolutionize our entire world once it “catches on”. It’s hard not to agree with them, because (as you’ve clearly seen) the technology itself can be applied both broadly and successfully in nearly every area you can think of. In this way, perhaps calling 3D printing “amazingly useful” is a major understatement; “critically invaluable” is a much better description, wouldn’t you agree?