Every few years something comes along that changes the way we live for the better. On a fateful day in 1983, 3D printing was born and we haven’t looked back since. So what separates 3D printing from your regular run of the mill manufacturing?
Well, 3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing that creates little to no waste when done right.
The most popular forms of 3D printing are SLA (Stereolithography) and FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling). With FDM, material is deposited layer by layer and with SLA the material is created bottom-up using a specially targeted laser and resin. 3D printing has had many many applications since its inception and Prototyping and Medicine have been two of it’s most popular uses and biggest profit bringers till date.
With 3D printing one can achieve complex designs that wouldn’t have been possible or even economical if done by hand or using another manufacturing process. Over the years there have been many interesting projects in the 3D printing community that have had a significant impact on various industries.
A case of which is the ‘bioprinting’ of a bladder by Dr. Anthony Atala in Boston. Dr. Atala used a modified inkjet 3D printer to grow the patient’s own cells in his lab and 3D print a new artificial bladder.
Along with that, there have been loads of 3D printed projects that have aimed to improve already existing objects as is in the case of one of the most well known prosthetics in the world- the Jaipur foot. Using 3D printers the Jaipur foot has been revamped and fitted with a more custom and comfortable socket.
Already heavily used in the aviation industry, 3D printing can help people print spare parts on the go, as in the case of the 3D printer used in the International Space station. As it would cost loads of money to send a spare part all the way from Earth, the space station has been equipped with a 3D printer so that they can 3D print spare parts on the go thus saving thousands if not millions of dollars.
Closer to home, Fracktal has taken part in two major projects, a 3D printed braille smartphone keyboard called TiPo, that helps visually challenged individuals text and use smartphones. Also designed and created by Vijay Varada- the founding director of Fracktal, is the world’s first 3D printed vertical wind turbine. Vijay set up the wind turbine while on a mission to save the Antarctic ice with Robert Swan- the first man to walk across both poles.
Using 3D printing, one can change the way human beings interact with technology. As more and more advancements occur in this field, more and more individuals will learn how to make a difference.