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What Can 3D Printing Be Used For?

What Can 3D Printing Be Used For, Prototyping, 3D printing manufacturing, 3D printing in Education, Learning about 3D printing

It was the peace advocate and poet Mattie Stepanek who said,

“Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.”

Those words perfectly capture our feelings when it comes to 3D printing. It is the medium that the future will be built with, and we are already utilizing it today.

What Can You Use 3D Printing For?

What is 3D printing, anyway? In a nutshell, it is a form of manufacturing physical objects through a device that sculpts materials through the adding method. The machine decides how to create the finished projects by translating a digital file specifically designed for 3D printing.

Anyway, since you’re reading this now, chances are you already know what 3D printing is. You just want to know what you can use it for. Well, it has a lot of practical applications, like the following:

1. Prototyping

Let’s face it. Prototyping is one of the most resource-heavy steps in manufacturing. It wastes materials, time, and labor.

Fortunately, 3D printing can significantly cut down your resource spending by allowing you to produce your products using cheaper and reusable materials, like wax and biodegradable plastic, print them out and make adjustments on the fly. This speeds up your production schedule by weeks, and most of all, it will only require a small team to do so.

2. Manufacturing

What’s even better than prototyping is that 3D printing also allows for the actual manufacturing of your finished products. You just need to switch out your prototype medium with the actual material that you want to use and voila! You have end-use products for retail.

3. Repair

Finally, you can also use 3D printing for repair and restoration. If you have a piece of equipment that broke down and you can’t find replacement parts, don’t worry. As long as you can find the digital design file of that part (or create one for it yourself), you can easily reproduce them with the use of your 3D printer. Problem solved.

Aside from the practical applications we have mentioned above, 3D printing is also making waves in different industries, such as the ones below:

4. Health

We believe that 3D printing will resculpt various industries, but it will be most impactful and revolutionary when it comes to the healthcare industry.

From printing out prosthetic limbs to personal protective equipment, 3D printing will be able to produce health gear twice as fast and allow specific adjustments without wasting exhaustive amounts of materials and time. This is especially important for an industry where fast-paced production and delivery mean the difference between life and death.

5. Innovation

If there’s one thing that has been holding innovators back, particularly in the areas of engineering and technology, it’s this: pitching an abstract idea is difficult. You can create computer simulations of your idea at work, true, but it’s still not going to be concrete proof that your idea will actually translate well if and when it’s actually in action.

What’s even more difficult is convincing investors to invest in your idea—to fund the prototyping of your idea and test if it will work. Fortunately, you can skip this part altogether. Innovators can now test their ideas, create working prototypes themselves, and produce a solid proof that their ideas do work even before they pitch it to investors for mass production.

Better yet, they can even produce the finished products themselves, as we have shared above. Sure, it might not be as wide-scale compared to an actual corporation handling the manufacturing, but you will be able to control how the product is presented and distributed, as well. Not to mention, you’ll reap all the benefits for yourself.

5. Education

Speaking of translating ideas to life, before inventors can even come up with their world-changing ideas, they would have to obtain a certain degree of learning first. This is the reason why we can’t even express how much assistance 3D printing can give to the education sector. Never before has it been this easy for students to test out their ideas, especially those aiming to be a part of engineering and design.

Conclusion

The bottom line is, 3D printing is a vehicle in turning abstract into reality. Learning about 3D printing is not just learning how to create sculptural pieces. It’s learning how to build things from scratch. It’s learning how to construct a building, not just by knowing how to put bricks together but by knowing how to make your own bricks if you don’t have access to them.

In fact, we haven’t even fully explored the tip of the iceberg yet. There are still a lot of possibilities in 3D printing that we haven’t been able to discuss, and we’re sure that there are still a lot of possibilities that have yet to be discovered. It really is the future, and we can’t wait until we get there.


More on this topic:

3D Printer On The International Space Station

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Carmine Delligatti-Drummer, former Support Manager for Deneba Software, ACD Systems, Mareware, Inc. and Swiss Made Marketing. Avid technology blogger and Managing Editor of Cupertinotimes.com.