Imagine a world where if you need or want a certain product you could simply go to your computer, order it and have it built in your house. Or, a world where you can design your house and a day later it’s built, ready for you to move in. This world may not be too far off in the future with the advances in 3D printing.
How does 3D printing work? There are two main types of “3D printing.” The first is accomplished by layering a material in the shape of the end product until the product is made. There are many ways to accomplish this layering, one way is laser sintering. Another way being pioneered by MIT is called stereolithography, which is expensive due to high-end optic units. However, MIT is hoping a Kickstarter will help lower the cost, but not the quality of a commercial 3D printing solution.
The uses for 3D printing can be unlimited. It can be used to create small scale replicas of larger products, parts for a model airplane or even a beak for an eagle. The only downfalls of 3D printing that I can see as of now is the price and availability of the building materials. However, I believe it is only a matter of time before the price of the machines come down.
As of right now, the buzz around the Web is focused on the smaller scale production of goods, but eventually the technology will grow to be able to produce larger products quicker, cheaper and easier. In the future, I believe there will be 3D printing shops for just about every industry. Thus, the norm will be picking out a product that you need or want and then personalizing it for your own use.
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