What is 3D printing
3D printing long ago moved from being theoretical to a reality, and in recent years 3D printers have become cheaper to produce; several models are now available for sale, as well as designs for products. Experts predict 3D printers will be common in homes in coming years. Our news and feature articles cover the science and technology behind 3D printers, from how they work to the history, progress and future of the technology and what kinds of things can be made. 3D printing’s uses range from practical objects for everyday use to commercial products and parts used in manufacturing, plus the technology holds promise for bioprinting of human parts for medical purposes.
Example user of 3D printing
Here are some examples of 3D printing technology
- A new 3D-printed mask helped a puppy in California heal after its face was severely wounded in an attack by another dog.The puppy, a 4-month-old female Staffordshire bull terrier named Loca, arrived at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with a fractured cheekbone and jawbone — the result of a severe dog bite. In addition, she had a damaged temporomandibular joint (or TMJ, which connects the jawbone to the skull), and puncture wounds on her face and neck
Loca’s doctors saw her case as an opportunity to use a new approach for treating facial fractures — a 3D-printed “exoskeleton” mask for dogs. The mask works much like a traditional cast for the arms or legs, meaning it holds the affected bones in place while they heal
- A female mouse with synthetic ovaries created on a 3D-printerconceived and gave birth to healthy offspring. Researchers said the study could lead to an infertility treatment for women with cancer.
The ovary was created using a porous scaffold made from gelatin, according to the all-female research team, which described the study this week in the journal Nature Communications. Gelatin is a form of collagen, the most abundant protein in mammals. Compared to natural collagen, gelatin is more broken down and thus can be made into an ink that can be used in a 3D printer.
When 3D printing become popular
3D printing first became popular back in the late 1980s, but not in the public sense. Its early popularity was among various industries. They liked it because it offered rapid prototyping of industrial products and designs. It proved to be quick and accurate, but it was also cost effective. For a lot of industries, rapid prototyping technology was checking a lot of boxes, and continues to do so.
Like with all great innovations, 3D printing had to go through a life cycle before it reached maturity. Most good ideas never take off, for all kinds of reasons, but a few do. The good news is that the additive manufacturing (AM) technology has made it. If we take 3D printing from its origin to the present day, it will look something like this:
- The Infancy Stage: 1981 to 1999
- The Adolescence Stage: 1999 to 2010
- The Adult Stage: 2011 to the present day
Today, 3D printing is becoming more popular among the general public. Most people at least know what it is now, and some of the things it’s capable of. But unlike inkjet printing, few of us create 3D models and print them out on these amazing machines at home. At least not yet! The cost has come down by the thousands of dollars in recent years, and the technology has gotten better and continues to improve. But right now, the average person can’t justify owning their own machines, but this is set to change in the years ahead. It’s going to change because of the types of things we will be able to print in 3D in all kinds of different materials.
Anyone who wants to explore 3D printing and experience the technology can do. You don’t need to own a 3D printer to be able to print in 3D. It’s now possible to design your own 3D models using one of the free online 3D design programs like Tinkercad. Once you model is ready, you can find a local or online service to print your 3D model for you. It’s that easy.
- Darrien Matthew (1801428346)
- Irene Anindaputri Iswanto, S.Kom., M.Sc.Eng (D5874)
- Bathula ISR, Virupakshi, Mali H. 3D printing for foot. MOJ Proteomics Bioinform. 2017;5(6):165‒169. DOI: 10.15406/mojpb.2017.05.00176
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