Did you know that you can create 3D objects using a printer? 3D printing is a process that uses additive manufacturing technology to create 3D objects. The process starts with a digital model created by computer-aided design and solid modeling. The digital model is sliced into thousands of layers and then each layer is solidified as a single entity in the print tray, which can be made of plastic, metal or ceramic media. The finished product emerges from this tray as it is being fabricated by the printer’s extruder head, and is only completed upon removal of the support material after printing.
Behind its complicated process, have you ever wondered what is main the function of 3D printing? In fact, 3D printing plays a significant role in several industries, including medical and education. In this article, we will reveal some fun facts about 3D printing that will impress you. Without any further ado, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- 1. 3D Printing Isn’t A New Invention
- 2. It Creates Many Things, From Prototype Sample To Finish Product
- 3. 3D Printing Is Possible In Space
- 4. You Can Print Meat With 3D Printer
- 5. 3D Printing Support Complex Surgery
- 6. Advanced 3D Bioprinting Of Living Tissues
- 7. Faster And Cheaper Manufacturing Technique Than Conventional Molding
- 8. 3D Printing For Affordable Housing
- 9. 3D Printing For Fashion Items
- 10. 3D Printing Manufacture Movie Props
- 11. Chocolate 3D Printing Is Popular For Chefs
- 12. The Largest Solid 3D Printed Item
- 13. The Smallest 3D Printed Billboard
- 14. It Forms An Object From Small Layers
- 15. 3D Printing For Education
1. 3D Printing Isn’t A New Invention
Yes, 3D printing has been around longer than you might realize. In actuality, 3D printing dates back to the 1980s. Early 1980s Japan saw the development of 3D printing in its earliest known forms. Hideo Kodama was looking for a technique to create a quick prototyping system in 1981.
Using a photosensitive resin that was polymerized by UV light, he developed a layer-by-layer manufacturing process. Kodama is frequently regarded as being the initial inventor of this manufacturing technique, which is an early variant of the present SLA machine, even though he was unable to file the patent requirement of this technology.
Moreover, Chuck Hull devised the “stereolithography” method in 1984, which involved layer-by-layer construction of three-dimensional objects out of photopolymers solidified by UV lasers. Fried Vancraen, CEO of Materialise, was a young guy in 1985 who created his own “FDM” models without the aid of a computer. He established Materialise, one of the first 3D printing businesses, five years later.
2. It Creates Many Things, From Prototype Sample To Finish Product
With its origins in manufacturing, 3D printing was first mostly utilized for product prototyping. Rapid prototyping is still used by big businesses to cut costs by millions of dollars. Ford is currently using 3D printing to create a significant number of its automotive parts for testing, for instance. Ford claims that by using this production approach, the corporation can save millions of dollars in the product development process
But to get back to the subject, full items are being produced using 3D printing more and more. Since 2003, MGX by Materialise have collaborated with leading designers to produce lamps and other design items. These items are now part of the permanent collections of museums and art galleries all around the world. And as we can currently observe, designers and individuals from all over the world are also using 3D printing to bring their original inventions to reality, both for their own use and the delight of others.
3. 3D Printing Is Possible In Space
A new solar-powered technique for manufacturing satellite antennas in space was developed by the Japanese technology company Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Mitsubishi has so far only experimented with their material under replicating space-like conditions on Earth. The company’s experts claim that in their lab testing, a 6.5 inches wide 3D printed antenna dish performed identically to a conventional satellite antenna.
The price of satellite launches could be greatly decreased by a new in-orbit application of 3D printing technology. With the new method, there would be no need to launch large, bulky items into orbit, which would save money. In order to provide some context, let’s say that SpaceX generally charges $1,200 per pound of payload to enter low-Earth orbit. Therefore, 3D-printed components in space may be much lighter and thinner than conventional space antennae. Operators will be able to launch satellites with better capabilities and at a reduced cost.
4. You Can Print Meat With 3D Printer
In 2021, a 104 gram cultivated steak was successfully printed by the Israeli bioprinting business MeaTech 3D Ltd utilizing their specialized 3D printing technology. The steak, which is made of actual, cultured muscle and fat cells, is thought to be the biggest cultured steak ever created. The accomplishment is a significant step toward mass production of cultured beef, a crucial objective in the fight against climate change.
The use of cultured animal cells to produce food products that resemble meat is known as cultured meat, also known as cultivated meat, cell-based meat, or clean meat. Cultured meat is created from the same cells as traditional meat, as opposed to plant-based meat or other meat substitutes. Theoretically, it could produce an exact clone of the original while causing far less environmental harm and needing no animal murder.
5. 3D Printing Support Complex Surgery
The use of 3D printing is expanding rapidly in the medical sector. Surgery and medical professionals benefit from this manufacturing method in their day-to-day work. The Durham University study discovered that 3D printing enables surgical teams to print 3D models based on a patient’s unique surgical requirements, providing more precise and detailed information to plan and practice the surgery while reducing the possibility of error or unanticipated complications.
The study showed that 3D printed anatomical models were also helpful when explaining the specifics of surgery to the patient, helping to boost their level of comfort with the process. The technology makes it possible for aspiring surgeons to become familiar with the procedures involved in complex operations by honing their abilities on examples that more closely resemble the problems faced by actual patients.
6. Advanced 3D Bioprinting Of Living Tissues
Living tissues that may be injected into the body and encourage a broken joint to mend itself are being 3D printed using bioinks containing stem cells. The bioink formulation developed by University Medical Center Utrecht is used exclusively to print 3D bones. It acts as a powerful reinforcing, resulting in significantly stronger bone formations. It enables the bespoke 3D construction of mechanically robust, cellularized structures by providing fine-grained control over mechanical qualities and degradation characteristics.
The cell-filled bioinks networks are crosslinked when bioprinting is finished to create stronger scaffolds. The method has allowed the researchers to create complete, cell-friendly replicas of various human body components, including bone segments, blood arteries, cartilage, and ears. It’s a development that might lessen the anguish and pain that people with arthritis will experience throughout their lives.
Another advantage of this fantastic bioprinting technology is that it makes it easy for medical researchers to conduct laboratory experiments. For instance, because human tissue and organs have exactly the same qualities and reactions as animal tissue and organs, it is now possible to conduct tests directly on human tissue or organs.
7. Faster And Cheaper Manufacturing Technique Than Conventional Molding
In order to mold a relatively complex design, it must be divided into various components, necessitating the use of numerous molds. When those parts leave the mold, they must be assembled, where more labor and screws will be added to the parts to restore them to the final shape specified by the design. That is not the case with 3D printing, though. In comparison to machining prototypes, 3D printing is less expensive and faster at producing components because the part may be done in a matter of hours. This makes it possible to complete each design alteration considerably more quickly.
With 3D printed plastic pieces, almost any geometry is possible. Consequently, you can create incredibly intricate pieces. Additionally, parts of an assembly can be directly combined to create a single part. By doing away with subsequent assembly, this also lessened the possibility that the part would fail due to improper assembly. In other words, the product costs less to produce because fewer molds are needed. Additionally, since there is less work required, the cost of assembly is lower.
8. 3D Printing For Affordable Housing
In fact, architectural scale construction is also aided by additive manufacturing! This manufacturing method for architecture has time savings as its primary benefit. This innovative approach to building can be used for social housing as well as to address the housing deficit in developing nations. Zach Mannheimer, the company’s creator and CEO of Habitat for Humanity, claims that by reducing labor, materials, and time expenditures, 3D printing can reduce costs by up to 15%.
In 2022, April Stringfield was the first owner-occupied 3D-printed home from Habitat for Humanity. The cutting-edge constructions are being created as a potential remedy for the shortage of affordable homes. The Iowa-based business Alquist 3D built the three-bedroom house’s concrete walls in fewer than 30 hours.
9. 3D Printing For Fashion Items
All of the fashion items, including clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, eyewear, and watches, may be 3D printed! In fact, 3D printed clothing is now a reality. Adidas, Nike, and Reebok are just a few of the well-known sneaker labels that have experimented with additive manufacturing. Since partnering with Carbon in 2017, Adidas has started employing 3D printing to produce new footwear, beginning in 2018 with the Futurecraft 4D 3D printed sneakers, which are still available for purchase. They mix flexibility and strength to give the sports shoe the most comfort possible.
Glasses that are 3D printed are also growing in popularity. Since it offers a wide range of possibilities for creating entirely customized 3D printed glasses frames, this technology is being used more and more in the eyewear business to manufacture 3D printed spectacles. In addition to providing flexibility in forms and shapes, 3D printing can create eyeglass frames with less material.
10. 3D Printing Manufacture Movie Props
The film business is certainly taking full advantage of all the advantages of additive manufacturing because many movies now contain 3D printed pieces! The need for high-quality props and models is greater than ever as Ultra High Definition filmmaking begins to appear on our screens. It can be used to directly create props or to work on monster or creature ideas.
Some movies can also employ 3D printing to generate 3D printed environments and pieces. By fusing traditional African culture with cutting-edge technology, 3D printing actually assisted in pushing the boundaries of design to create Queen Ramonda’s appearance in the Black Panther film. You might not be aware of this, but the Iron Man costume and some of the stormtroopers from the Star Wars films are made in part using 3D printing.
11. Chocolate 3D Printing Is Popular For Chefs
There might be a solution if you’re a chef who has insane chocolate creation aspirations but is unsure of how to make them a reality. The Mona Lisa 3D Studio was developed by the Barry Callebaut Group, a Swiss chocolate producer, and it uses Belgian chocolate to 3D print bespoke designs. They are actually utilizing 3D printers to help them make intricate chocolate creations that are difficult to accomplish with just their hands.
Customers only need to specify their preferred design, shape, and size; the rest will be handled by a team of designers, who will turn the customer’s idea into a digital 3D prototype. The final product can be produced in as many copies as needed and dispatched when the prototype has been approved. A special confectionery treat named Flor de Cacao has been 3D printed by Jordi Roca, a well-known pastry chef, with the assistance of Mona Lisa 3D Studio.
12. The Largest Solid 3D Printed Item
The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center in Orono, Maine, USA, produced the largest solid 3D-printed item on October 10, 2019, measuring 2.06 m3 in volume. The moniker 3Dirigo, which also holds the record for largest 3D printed boat, is taken from the motto of the state of Maine, “Dirigo.” The largest 3D-printed boat in the world has a high-performance wind generator and a multidirectional wave basin.
In less than three days, the largest 3D-printed boat in the world was constructed! This boat also broke another world record for being the largest 3D-printed object in a short amount of time. In fact, the largest 3D printer in the world was also used to build the boat.
13. The Smallest 3D Printed Billboard
The smallest 3D-printed billboard, which was validated on December 30, 2021, was made by Kao Commercial Co., Ltd. in Shanghai, China, and measures 1.424 square millimeters. The billboard’s dimensions are 1.439 mm by 0.989 mm. The goal of this world record attempt was to demonstrate the efficacy of Kao Magiclean’s new Kitchen Cleaner, which kills 99.9% of surface-borne germs while removing oil.
In order to market their product, the corporation decided to develop a series of microscopic billboards, the content of which, like germs, is invisible to the human eye and only viewable through microscopes. The miniature billboards were created in collaboration with BMF, a leading global micro-printing company.
14. It Forms An Object From Small Layers
In case you wonder, how can a 3D printer form an object? A full thing is divided into thousands of minuscule slices using 3D printing, which then constructs the object slice by slice. These minute layers adhere to one another to create a solid item. Due to the extremely complicated nature of each layer, 3D printers are able to incorporate moving components like hinges and wheels into a single product.
Using a layering technique, 3D printing uses computer-aided design (CAD) to produce three-dimensional things. Moreover, the process in 3D printing or also known as additive manufacturing will build up layers of different materials, such as plastics, composites, or biomaterials, to produce items that vary in size, shape, rigidity, and color.
15. 3D Printing For Education
When classes are enjoyable and interesting, most students learn more effectively. With the use of 3D printing, educators may create engaging lessons for complex theoretical concepts that transfer learning from computer screens to students’ hands. As kids get firsthand experience with the design process from conception to creation, this sparks excitement and helps them comprehend it better.
As the student constructs the project layer by layer, the distinct traits become more apparent. Across academic fields, 3D printing has a wide range of applications. Biology students can print organs and chemistry students can study 3D printed molecules. In addition, students of history can print historical artifacts, graphic design students can produce 3D representations of their works of art, and students of architecture can print 3D models of their architectural plans.