3D printing has become cutting edge technology that is more and more present in our society. As the cost of 3D printers has decreased and their presence has increased, the excitement over what these printers can do has grown exponentially. The technology available right now is offering all kinds of industries new and amazing opportunities that haven’t existed before now.
From medical uses to manufacturing plants 3D printing is becoming an everpresent technology that isn’t going anywhere. Many researchers, companies, and even individuals themselves have started relying on 3D printing as part of their daily life. It is no longer just some sort of neat idea that might print something useful in the future. It’s printing useful things right now.
As the market for this technology continues to grow, 3D printing capabilities are growing right along with the demand. If you’ve ever been curious about what 3D printing can do, there’s never been a more exciting time to look at what’s being accomplished. Here are five future trends of 3D printing technology you should be really excited about.
1. The Cost Will Continue To Drop
Owning a 3D printer of your own wasn’t always something that was possible. When the technology was first available these printers were sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase.
That’s still true for large scale operations using 3D printing, or for people who want to utilize more cutting edge versions of 3D printers. However, for the average consumer looking to buy a fused filament 3D printer, the cost is no longer extremely prohibitive. You can get a 3D printer right now for around $200 and filament prices are dropping too.
There are free designs online for almost anything you can imagine you’d want to print, and there are tutorials on how you can develop your own designs too. All of this leads to 3D printing on an at home consumer level becoming more and more affordable. This trend is only going to continue to drive prices down. If you’ve been waiting to buy a 3D printer, the time is now.
2. Medical Advances Will Continue To Be Cutting Edge
Medical use of 3D printing is one of the most exciting ways this technology is being used invisible everyday ways. Bioprinting (a method of printing live human cells or growth factors to make tissue-like material) was something we could only imagine in sci-fi movies a few years ago. Now it’s something the medical field uses as a regular part of their options to treat patients.
There are also exciting developments in other areas, like 3D printing of prosthetic limbs. Even just a few years ago children who needed prosthetics may have had to wait until they were old enough to stop outgrowing their prosthesis before being able to afford to have an actual prosthetic device.
With 3D printing available it’s affordable for families to have a new prosthetic printed if a child outgrows their current one. This means more children are able to have a better quality of life, all because of 3D printing. It’s truly an amazing application of this technology that is only going to continue to shock us all as it grows.
3. The Cost Of Large Scale Manufacturing Will Continue To Drop
3D printing in the manufacturing industry has started to mean huge changes. There’s a concrete bridge in China for instance, that was printed in only 450 hours and only cost about 2/3 of the normal manufacturing cost for a similar bridge to be built. This is pretty amazing in terms of savings a company can pass on to consumers in other areas.
3D printed manufacturing materials have been used in exciting ways. It’s possible to print something off-site and send it to be assembled on-site for much less than building it directly on-site would cost. This means things like the cost of building a home is dropping as this technology becomes more ubiquitous.
Since manufacturing is one of the biggest industries using 3D printing, there isn’t going to be a decline in the demand for the products created. Consumers will be able to continue seeing these changes mean lower costs for them in exciting new ways like more affordable housing.
As manufacturing companies keep seeing savings, these savings will keep getting passed down to their customers.
4. The Use Of 3D Printing In Educational Settings Will Increase
3D printing in an educational setting is another very exciting area that’s going to continue seeing a lot of growth. Colleges and other educational settings love being able to use this technology, and their students are increasingly creating a demand for it on their campuses.
Teachers have been able to start printing their own models for classes, cutting down on the need to purchase more expensive replicas from other suppliers. Students have been starting to use the technology to print things for projects or learn about how CAD software works by creating their own designs to print.
The uses of 3D printing in the field of education are just starting to be evident so they will only continue to grow as both teachers and students see the value of 3D printing increase in their every day lives.
5. The Fashion Industry’s Demand For 3D Printing Will Continue Growing
There’s been a surprising niche application for 3D printing that no one may have really predicted when this technology first came out. The fashion industry’s demand for the ability to print unique, custom made items through 3D printing has been growing.
Customers have been able to work with designers to create something that is never going to be reproduced in the exact same manner again. This idea is extremely appealing to a lot of people. Because 3D printing is more available now, the cost of having something custom made isn’t as exclusive as it used to be.
Because more customers can now afford custom designs, more designers and brands have been offering custom 3D printed jewelry or similar accessories (phone cases for example) than ever before. This is another area that’s only going to continue to increase their demand for 3D printing in the coming years.
As you can see the areas that 3D printing are expanding into are very exciting to see. The medical applications are amazing, and the idea that a home may be more affordable is very enticing. There are new ways this technology is being used every day.
Keeping an eye on what’s being developed and what new research comes out will be a thrilling part of the tech world in the coming years. No matter what happens with 3D printing trends, they definitely won’t be boring.