3D printing may not be a new concept, but it’s only very recently that it’s made a breakthrough in the consumer market. In the past, 3D printers were simply too expensive, and only large companies with particular specific needs could afford to use them.

However, there has been an interest in mass marketing, which has led to the improvement of printing machines. Albeit the fact that there is still room for improvement, there is a lot of information out there that may be misleading, and we’re here to remedy that. Here are some interesting things you may not know about 3D printing.

It’s possible to make virtually anything with 3D printing

You’d be surprised at the kind of things you’d be able to make with the appropriate 3D printing machine. From clothes to jewellery, car engines, fully drivable cars, houses, and even food. You read that, right! You could make edible food with a 3D printer. The only thing that would limit you would be your imagination.

Plastic is not the only 3D printing material

If you think this technology is limited to just plastic, then nothing could be further from the truth. Many other materials can be used, including paper, metal, wood, ceramic, glass, and even living tissue. As a matter of fact, the planetary resources company printed a spaceship model using materials from an asteroid!

Different operational approaches with different prices

There are several ways to create with 3D printing, and one of them is stereolithography. This is one of the most popular methods. It’s based on light-sensitive photopolymers used as raw materials. The process involves ultraviolet radiation that’s applied to the material in layers. The layers are solidified and bonded to each other. The most significant drawback of the method is the high price. The alternative method is the FDM rapid prototyping, which is cheaper, but less accurate.

The future of retail is in 3D printing

Desktop 3D printers have become increasingly popular, and open-source design sources have popped up all over the internet. It’s easy for anyone to download files printable for personal use. At the moment, 90% of all jewellery is made with 3D printing technology. This means sooner than we expect, retail items like dishes, mugs, clothes, furniture, and possibly food could be printed right from home. All you’ll likely need to pay for is the manufacturer design or digital blueprint, then print right from the comfort of your home.

Photo: 3D Printer by its-izzy licensed under Creative Commons 4.0