3D Printing has rapidly become one of the most popular technologies of recent times. From food to organs, 3D Printing is proving itself worthy of impacting every sector. Admittedly, the level of customization, large scale manufacturing, and gamut of complexity makes 3D Printing one of the more lavish and sought after technologies, which paves way for a promising future of 3D Printing.
Despite the aforementioned characteristics, there exists a scenario wherein the 3D Printing market can be viewed as a ‘monopoly’. The 3D Printing manufacturers have developed their sole proprietary materials and have ensured that no other material works as efficiently on their 3D Printers as their own. As a result, the service providers are forced to buy these high priced materials and the end-consumer is forced to bear the brunt of it. This monopoly of resources drives a lucrative opportunity for companies and manufacturers to prosper. The increasing demand, paired with the state of monopolies, has only prompted prices to rise higher. As material costs augment, the overall costs escalate as well.
However, there’s a ray of hope. HP’s recently launched, first ever 3D printer — HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200/3200 3D Printer not only consists of state of the art Multi Jet Fusion technology, but also provides the ability for individuals and organizations to develop their own materials. This paradigm shift in the 3D Printing industry is bound to disrupt and change the game dramatically; the material costs of 3D Printing are bound to decrease, resulting in wholesale prices and mass adoption of this technology.
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How will 3D Printing impact the future?

3D Printer future possibilities bring in a plethora of opportunities and hope to the material manufacturers and research labs to develop their own sets of materials:

  1. The advent of new materials will unlock potentially unheard of applications. New materials catering to specific applications will only propel the sheer magnitude of 3D Printing.
  2. Apart from the big industrial players like HP, there are many others including universities and research labs who have started developing their own printers which are compatible with their choice of materials.
  3. Thanks to 3D Printing, scientists in Singapore have discovered a new method to create 3D printed membranes, built using ink made of titanium dioxide, which develops the ability to destroy microbes upon contact with UV rays. Not only does this aid in demolishing harmful microbes, it also assists in break down of organic compounds in order to prevent any plausibility of clogging the membrane.

Science Fiction or Reality?

  1. If the rapid rate of the betterment of technology here on Earth wasn’t already exciting, the thought of 3D Printing in outer space should do it. How, one may ask? Well, 3D Printing is already being tested by the European Space Agency and NASA, for its durability and tensile strength. Resin, a common form of plastic used as a base material for 3D Printing, has proved to be just as sturdy on Earth as on the Moon. That’s right, 3D Printer future possibilities involve colonization on the Moon. Regardless of the fact that the construction of this plan is still in a relatively primitive stage, the European Space Agency have already fabricated the basic process of this contrived architecture. Robots will first step on to the Moon, and collect copious amounts of lunar regolith, more commonly comprehended as moon rock, for raw material.
  2. Using that, they will eventually print tools and even entire buildings to place on the Moon, with help from the 3D printers already planted in space.
  3. 3D printer future possibilities are also the simpler, yet more beneficial, ones: With a printer assisting astronauts and scientists while they are in space changes the scope for technical problem-solving. The ability to legitimately print any and everything, from containers to spare parts or tools, minimizes potential technical risk, aiding them in exploring space during long-term projects.
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    The Future of Work. Courtesy: GE

A Household Dream Becomes Reality!

Gradually, 3D Printing will impact not just the technological world, but households, too. 3D Printing is already finding itself slowing integrating amongst medical discoveries and vehicular autonomy, but just like personal computers, in the not so distant future, 3D printers would have a place in every household, office and even classrooms (Know more about the role of 3D Printing in Education); its raw materials available to everyone from CEOs to teenagers.
Whether it’s car parts or organs, the future of 3D Printing promises endless possibilities at the end of your fingertips, and soon enough, you will be at the brink of it all.