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The Evolution of 3D Printing: Past, Present and Future

by • July 31, 2016 • No Comments

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ThePast

When we talk of the history of a thing, it manufactures sense to begin at the beginning. For 3D Printing, that beginning was way back in the late 1980’s or, as I like to call it, ‘Pre-Me’. Charles Hull devised the SLA Printer around 1987. Back and so it may cost you a fewwhere in the vicinity of $300k to purchase one.

How does that translate to 2016? Well, accounting for total inflation of 116%, that $300k printing device may cost just about $650k at present. So it wasn’t quite an inexpensive hobby that individuals were investing in.

Up until 5 years ago, the average cost of a 3D printing device was floating around the $50k mark. But, due to consumerism and an increase in demand and, subsequently, production, you can now purchase a respectable-bodied 3D printing device for the substantially lower cost of $1800. If that’s yet too expensive for your pockets there is actually a $49 3D printing device on the market for pre-order on Kickbeginer.

So, thatat any time way you appear at it, you’ve got at very least 2 options, that is many most likely additional than what you were waiting for.

Of course, this decline in the cost of 3D printing is not too surprising as the demand for the faculty to print your own plastic cups and what-have-you has increased.

But, for printing enthusiasts, businesses and schools around the world, this is excellent news. I mean, over half of the major and 2ndary schools in the UK at present have access to 3D printing devices.

Of course, now that I’ve said at present, I guess we’ve left the past behind and should move on.

The Present

The world is changing. Yes, we know it, we’ve read it preceding. So I won’t bore you with another piece on consumerism and inherent societal impatience. Instead, let’s jump straight to the point. That point is convenience; individuals want what they want and they want it yesterday.

Heck, I’ve actually heard a fewone complain that his 2 minute noodles were bringing too long to cook. Granted, that ‘a fewone’ was me, but whatat any time, case in point… I wasn’t asking you anyway!

Just like each other industry under the sun, the 3D printing industry is affected by the trend of additional, faster and for less. It is the modern matter of cost versus convenience. Paying a fewone to do a thing that we may do on our own is approximately the trademark of this generation. If there’s a way to pay a little bit of money to get a thing done a lot faster, many individuals can go for it. Paying to save time on necessities so we can waste it on social media and Pokemon is the latest trend and it just won’t die.

meme

Of course, this trend just works until a point. If 3D printing devices yet cost 300k dollars, you can bet individuals mayn’t be just about as ready to throw their hard-earned money at the power to create their beer pong cups.

In this modern age of 3D printing, we are constantly seeing new feats achieved with this innovation. Whole industries are reexamining the manner in that they operate. And it’s all thanks to this innovation that is so readily at their fingertips.

There is an at any time-growing list of astounding things being achieved with 3D printing that we may talk of. But, we are just going to appear at one.

Back in 2004 and 2005, Chinese company WinSun created a 3D printing spray nozzle and automatic material feeding system. Three years later, in 2008, they printed an actual wall for a assembling.

Now, preceding you begin hurling insults and saying “Jesse! That’s 8+ years ago. Do you actually know what the present is?” read on.

Late last year WinSun printed (yes, that’s right, printed) a five-storey residential apartment assembling. But they didn’t stop there. To top off this feat, they in addition created a 3D printed 1,100 square metre villa that came achieve with internal and external decorations.

Now, that’s just one example of the things being achieved with 3D printing TODAY. As this astounding innovation continues to create we can ask: “What can the next bring?”

The Future

nikeshoesPredictions are a tricky thing. For instance, take the 2nd Back to the Future movie. It is 2016 and I’m not wearing self-lacing Nike shoes and I don’t own a hover-board (a real one! Not those two-wheeled gadgets that call themselves hover-boards). This is the inherent risk in prophecy; unless you are God, you can’t guarantee the things you predict can take place as you predicted.

With that in mind, let’s manufacture a one or two “educated guesses.”

I’m going to begin by talking of the accomplishment of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) earlier this year. They created a 3D printing technique that allows for for the simultaneous printing of both solid and liquid materials.

Employing this innovation, they were able-bodied to print a fully-functional robot in a single print run. Well, an approximately fully-functional robot. But wait; there’s additional.

They achieved this, not with a few uber-expensive, say-of-the-art printing device but, with a adjusted, off-the-shelf printing device. So, with the right know-how, you may do this at home. But chances are you will mess it up. No offence, but there’s a reason you don’t work at CSAIL…

Once it’s printed, the robot yet needs to have a battery introduced on preceding it can operate. So yes, it is not achieve in a single step. But so what? That’s yet a two-stage system to a dynamic robot!

By now you are many most likely wondering how this relates to the next of 3D printing.

Well, unfortunately, you many most likely won’t be printing out robotic butlers or maids anytime soon, so don’t throw away your dishwasher just yet. Plus, divorces are expensive, so…

What is additional most likely (than your own servant-bots, I can’t speak for the say of your marriage), is that we will see local print centres popping up as places where those of us without 3D printing devices can take our USB sticks and blueprints to print off whatat any time it is that strikes our fancy. And as the industry continues to grow, the complexity of what we will be able-bodied to print can undoubtedly grow.

But that’s just for you and me. For the larger-scale developer, don’t begin selling your factories or firing your assembly-line workers just yet. It is not most likely that 3D printing can at any time be additional cost-effective than injection molding to, say, manufacture 100,000 smartphone cases. But, 3D printing can most likely affect the ease of getting new and new products to market quicker and for less money. As an example, you may test the fit of a smartphone case preceding sending it off to making, to manufacture certain it’s precise.

As for me? I’m going to stick with LEGO for the time being.

Finally, if you’d like a really great, easy-to-read summary of all this, here is a handy little infographic:

3D printing_Evolution

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