The first thing that many people are shocked to discover about 3D printing is that the technology is already over 30 years old! For much of that time, it has been mostly a novelty concept. Not many people have had access to the technology until recent years.
But all of that is changing, and it’s changing fast. As the decades have rolled on, this growing niche of manufacturing has begun to establish itself as a safe, fun, and increasingly affordable option even for beginner hobbyists.
Many artists, creative types, inventors, and builders have embraced the opportunity to design, develop, and construct their own personal masterpieces right in their living rooms.
This growing new fan base has laid the groundwork for the niche to rapidly become more accessible to the buying public. Both the cost and the experience required to operate the machinery has plummeted.
Not only are there a variety of affordable 3D printers, but the number of software programs available to help consumers bring their visions to life is becoming amazingly simple!
If you are relatively new to the topic of 3D printer technology, these five fun facts will get you started on your path to better understanding what the buzz is all about…
New Materials Are Being Introduced All the Time
About three years ago, a company named MakerBot released an entirely new set of materials that they figured out how to use as the PLA filament to create new 3D printed products.
The new materials included bronze, limestone, and a variety of woods. The products that can now be developed out of these materials has expanded the creativity and the functionality of the printed object.
For example, the wood can be cut and stained to create stunning pieces of art from a digital file. Metals, like iron, can be magnetized opening up endless possibilities.
“Honey! What Did You Print for Dinner?”
That’s right! It is now even possible to print out some of your favorite foods. Although it still needs some time to mature, this new twist on culinary creativity is already taking hold across the planet.
Pasta, chocolate, cakes, and other edible delights are already being created by using crystalline sugars, and powders as the medium for 3D printed food. Restaurants are already beginning to appear around the world using this type of food preparation.
You Can Build Your Own 3D Printing Machine!
The driving forces behind 3D printing are the creators and designers who come together to form a community to tackle the next roadblock to progress.
This means that many innovators like to try their hands at building their own machines.
There are also a number of kit machines available for purchase for those who want to get a closer look at the nitty-gritty details of how the process works. For others, a pre-built, ready to print model is all they need to present their next creative idea to the world.
The Manufacturing Process Has Been Changed Forever
Probably the greatest benefit of 3D printing is that it has permanently altered the way people get the design products they want.
In the past, a manufacturer had to develop an entire support system to create even a small product. Let’s say a bike company wants a new type of sprocket with an improved design.
The bike company would have to hire a manufacturer to make thousands of these parts in order to offset the cost of setting up to produce the item.
This is no longer the case as 3D printing has scaled down the process, and is capable of being altered to easily go from one project to another without the cost of setup.
If the bike company only wants one prototype before mass production, they can no do it in the comfort of their own offices.
Earth-Friendly Recyclable Materials Reduce Unwanted Waste
One of the aspects of our 3D operation here at Terrafilum that we are most proud of is our ability to recycle the unused materials we sell to our customers.
The beauty of 3D printing is that much of the unwanted, unused materials or even that hideous first design failure doesn’t have to end up in a landfill, or a rubbish pile where it adds to environmental pollution.
Terrafilum provides an exchange program by which customers can return the used, or leftover material to us, and we will recycle it back into the inventory so that literally no waste is being produced from our already eco-friendly materials.
The bottom line, folks, is that the 3D printing revolution is upon us and will soon be so common, and easy to use that children will finally be able to build their own custom toys the minute their minds imagine it.
THAT is progress!