From weapons to prosthetics, from jewelry to cars: 3D printing will change our lives in the coming decades, just as the internet has done in the past.
The researcher James Craddock also claims it, on the occasion of the 3D Printshow held in Paris last Saturday: “I have no doubts that this will change the world”.
However, the member of the 3D Printing Research Group, from Nottingham University, also predicted that the use of 3D printing will be limited. In fact, he also added: “You would never make a cup with a 3D printer, because it could fall or leak, but you would use it for beautiful and high-value objects, such as spare parts, the real revolutionary factor, then, will be the use industrial”
And here is a selection of the potential future uses of 3D Printing:
It is one of the most captivating prospects and has attracted a lot of interest. The California-based engineer from Solid Concept claimed that a metal replica of a 1911 rifle will be produced this month.
Entrepreneur and inventor Brook Drumm, however, warned that the process of printing a gun would be slow, expensive and dangerous, requiring high-temperature lasers, lots of energy and hazardous materials.
Drumm started Printrbot to produce printers for plastic items costing around $400. Printers for metal items can cost up to $250,000 and furthermore, adds Drumm: “The particulate matter is so fine that the skin could absorb it.” through the pores. The materials are not safe. Also, there are a lot of moving parts in a gun and they have to be made very precisely.” Drumm also tried printing a plastic gun, but gave up as it was so time consuming.
From a replica of a Viking helmet to one of the most famous sculptures in the Louvre: all of this could one day fit on a piece of furniture in our home.
The American Cosmo Wenman used thousands of photographs taken in some of the world’s largest museums to produce exact copies of the works in plastic.
Among the works produced we also find the Venus de Milo which is currently located in the Louvre.
The 3D Urbee Car by Canadian Jim Kor is made of plastic and stainless steel. This futuristic three-wheeler is electric but uses petrol for higher speeds.
Kor argues that if an auto company decides to mass-produce the vehicle, it would be possible to bring it to market for as little as $16,000. Kor further added: “We want it to be the Volkswagen Beetle of the next century, low cost and with a long life. It should last 30 years and more. Our goal is for it to become 100% recyclable.”
3D printing will undoubtedly make the manufacturing process faster and less expensive.
Yvonne van Zummeren, jewelery designer at Dutch, produces a range of jewelery made from lightweight nylon polyamide. The artist says, “All my designs are based on the artwork and 3D printing makes it much easier for me to practice my work. Otherwise, I would have needed a factory in China and a minimum order of 20,000. And then when you produce something for the first time you have to have the possibility to re-adapt, modify and try again very easily, until you get the desired result.”
The prostheses can be custom-made to obtain a perfect result.
And also electronic parts could be made to allow the recipient accurate control of the limb.
Well, replacement parts will help everyone, from a NASA engineer to the person who loses a jacket button!