What Can a 3D Printer be Used For?

3D printing is bursting into the mainstream at the moment. But many of us still have no idea what it can be used for. There are so many different uses that should be taken into consideration. Some of the most important industries in society are currently trying new ways to make the most of the technology. In the very near future, this technology could be used to make people’s lives better. And it could mean lower costs and expenses for many different business sectors that can use it for manufacturing. So, read on to find out more.



Automotives

In the last couple of years, prototyping for new cars has seen the increased use of 3D printing to develop parts. The fact that these parts can be made very quickly and cheaply definitely helped in the prototyping process. And the technique has also been used to test the design of cars and how aerodynamic they are. They do this by creating a model of the car and placing it in a wind tunnel to see how the air passes over the design of the car. By doing this, they can see how aerodynamic the design is.

The Ford Motor Company has also been pushing forward with trials into how 3D printing can be used. As a result, many parts in their vehicles are now made by using 3D printing techniques. Vents, brake rotors and cylinder heads can now all be made via 3D printing. As the techniques progress and improve over time, it’s believed that more and more work will be done using 3D printing. So, 3D printing could be what shapes the future of the automotive industry.

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Medical Industry

The main area in which 3D printing can have an impact on people’s lives is in the medical industry. Thanks to 3D printing, many problems can now be treated better than ever before. It has even been used to print vital organs from a patient’s cells. This is a big deal because there is such a huge shortage of organs, and people are dying as a result of this. If printing organs can become a common occurrence, many of these problems will be solved and deaths will be averted. And that’s just one of the many ways in which the medical industry is using 3D printing.

Another way in which 3D printing is being used is in prosthetics. Certain types of prosthetic instruments that can be used for arm and leg mobility can be made using 3D printing. Very precise piece of equipment can be developed and created this way. And 3D printing is being used to treat sensory problems. For example, ear implants and aids to help people with sight problems have been created by using 3D printing. These trials are carrying on all the time, and new breakthroughs will keep happening.

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Creative Arts

Many creative people are already trying out new things with 3D printing. For artists, this is just another interesting new tool that can be used to produce art and sculptures. In many ways, now is a great time to be an artist because of the amount of new tools at your disposal. As 3D printers reduce in cost, and more people gain access to them, they will be more widely used by artists. There are some cheaper models out there already if you’re interested in trying them out. Read some 3D printer reviews online before buying though.

There have already been some major 3D printing breakthroughs in the art world. Some major galleries and institutions have exhibited sculptures that were made using 3D printing. There have even been attempted to bring to life classic paintings using 3D printing. For example, Rob and Nick Carter made a 3D replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers painting. And 3D printing is also being used to develop new tools and instruments that can be used by artists.

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Simple Plastics Manufacturing

Some of the most simple plastics manufacturing tasks might be able to be carried out quicker and easier in the future. As 3D printing grows, it’s becoming obvious that companies can produce their own plastics products if they have a printer. Whether it’s a piece of plastic that is needed for a company to make its products of a simple coat hanger, it can be made on a 3D printer. This is something that could massively reduce the overheads of some large companies that need this stuff.

There is always a flipside to that positive thing though. If companies no longer need to buy from plastics manufacturers, then those manufacturers could go out of business. As the market changes and 3D printing takes hold, people will be able to cut out those middlemen. It could force a relatively big restructuring of the business landscape if 3D printing takes off as many people expect it to. We are not at the stage where companies will be printing their component parts in-house en masse though. There is still some time to go before we reach that point.


NASA

NASA is already at the forefront of the modern usage of 3D printing. It’s something that they understand will have a big impact on what they do and how they operate. It’s not something that they can afford to let pass them by. They make very different things using 3D printing methods that most people thought. They use specialised technology to produce equipment that can be used in rocket engines and things like that. They have already made some real progress in this arena though. Until recently, it wasn’t known whether this would be possible.

A recent trial saw NASA test a rocket engine injector under extremely hot conditions. Obviously, when a rocket engine is used, the heat generated is immense. Therefore, it wasn’t known whether the components made using 3D printing would survive. But it turns out they passed the test. And this has now opened the door for new possibilities for 3D printing at NASA. Who knows where they will take 3D printing next?



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