Everyone appears to have heard about 3D printing at this point. However, there are still some fascinating 3D printing facts that you may not be aware of. So sit back, relax, and listen as we reveal the crucial 3D printing facts you may not have known about!
3D Printing Started in the 80s
Yes, 3D printing is more advanced than you might believe. The origins of 3D printing can be traced back to the 1980s. Chuck Hull devised the “stereolithography” technology in 1984, which employed UV lasers to solidify photopolymers and construct 3D items layer by layer.
3D Printing Is Used for Final Products and Prototyping
3D printing has its roots in industry and was originally used for prototyping things. In fact, large organizations continue to save millions of dollars by using fast prototyping. Ford, for example, is currently employing 3D printing to test a huge number of its automotive parts. According to Ford, this production process can save the corporation up to $493,000 per month in labor costs.
Returning to the topic, 3D printing is increasingly being used to construct completed projects. Many different engineers have been collaborating with prominent designers to design products using 3D printing techniques since 2003, and their work has been featured in permanent collections of museums and art galleries all over the world. Besides this, many at-home manufacturers have turned to 3D printing to satisfy the demand of their small businesses. Some manufacturers even utilize multiple 3D printers at a time to greatly speed up the deposition process!
Now, we see that 3D printing is being used by designers and individuals all over the world to bring their own inventions to life, both for personal use and for the delight of others.
3D Printing Works in Layers
Additive manufacturing works similarly to your home inkjet printer. In order to complete the work, an ink jet printer applies a single layer of ink to the page, but a 3D printer builds new layers on top of each previous one until the creation is complete. This type of printing is known as fused deposition modeling, or FDM printing, and is one of the most widespread forms of 3D printing found today. FDM printing utilizes a huge array of filaments, such as Kevlar-filled nylon polymers, to meet the needs of any project.
You Can Print in Many Unorthodox Materials
This truth about 3D printing may surprise you: almost everything can now be 3D printed. Many new 3D printing materials have hit the market since the 1980s, including gold, silver, titanium, wood, and ceramics. And these materials aren’t just for a select group of industrial behemoths; anyone can use online 3D printing services to upload 3D designs and acquire these types of prints.
3D-printed houses, drones, clothes, jewelry, and tableware have all emerged in recent years. You may have heard about 3D-printed prosthetics being used to treat wounded soldiers, as well as other amazing engineering marvels made possible by 3D printing technology.
3D Printing Will Lower Your Production Costs
Traditional production approaches entail high upfront costs, storage fees, and investment uncertainty. Machines must be set up, space must be rented, and the manufactured goods must sell. 3D printing takes a more flexible approach, allowing you to print orders as needed. This can come in helpful whether you’re a maker or an entrepreneur attempting to start a small business. The additive manufacturing technology uses relatively little material and allows you to create products as orders come in.
3D Printing Is Used in the Film Industry
Fun fact about 3D printing: 3D printers are already being used in movies. Creating and applying props can take a lot of time and effort. Many of those props may now be manufactured and recreated more quickly, easily, and without having to start from scratch thanks to 3D printing. Popular features such as IronMan, The Hobbit, Jurassic Park, Avatar, The Muppets, Terminator Salvation, Real Steel, The Avengers, and ParaNorman have all used 3D printing technology.
3D Printing Has Applications in Space
NASA is now conducting research into how to introduce 3D printing technology to space. The plan is to send robots to the moon ahead of astronauts to erect structures and infrastructure. Because the plastics most commonly employed in these scenarios are flexible and bendable, they may be useful in the future for emergency repairs or replacement parts, as they only require spools of filament as a resupply!
3D Printing Is One of the Best Resources for Education
3D printing is becoming a popular topic of study in schools, and it’s also being utilized to include kids with disabilities in programs that had previously excluded them (and often still do). A person with arm injuries can become a musician, a person without legs can play soccer, and students who are blind can “see” microscope slides thanks to personalized, 3D-printed medical solutions.
Art, design, entrepreneurship, and engineering are all unlocked for younger kids using increasingly simple 3D-modeling tools. These tools enable children to put their thoughts into tangible items. As the use of 3D printing in schools grows, so will the number of entrepreneurs, artists, and designers who grow up with the technology. This fall, the first community college in Texas will begin offering 3D printing classes, and instructional programs are available for those interested in incorporating the technology’s biological uses into their curriculum.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our article covering the top interesting facts about 3D printing that you might not know. 3D printing is certainly an interesting area of exploration for all those interested. The ability to create an object from just a thought is something that has captured the imagination of many creators today. If you are looking to do some experimentation, or simply want to try out a cool new filament that has tons of superior mechanical properties, be sure to check out our selection at Filamatrix! We pride ourselves on our ingenuity that has contributed to the synthesis of some of our most popular filaments today!