3D printing has revolutionized the manufacturing and design industry. Designers can now experience their designs in the physical world and manufacturers can create prototypes for just a few hundred dollars. This is a crazy improvement considering the traditional methods that would usually cost millions of dollars and many designs were simply impossible to create.
3D printing is cheap, accessible, and opens up much more possibilities. It is widely used in aerospace, automobile, plastics, fashion, food, and many more industries.
This article will explore the unique applications of 3D printing and estimate just how far it can go.
3D Printed Clothes
Danit Peleg is a famous Israeli fashion designer who is revolutionizing cloth manufacturing. According to EPA, In 2018, 17 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills. This is due to the current manufacturing methods that result in cloth cut-outs that are useless, on top of that, clothes are not very durable and end up in dumpsters by their owners. Danit believes 3D printing can solve this since 3D printing works by layering the materials that result in no waste and is much easier to recycle.
To take it a step further, they have created many limited collections that you can buy as NFTs and download the 3D files of clothes. Users can use these files to print their own clothes, using the nearest 3D printer!
Similar to Danit Peleg, various brands such as Nervous System, Nike, and Adidas, already offer 3D printed Accessories and Shoes. BRADY brand is using 3D knitting technology to create a single layer, seamless article of clothing.
3D Printed Organs
While 3D printed clothes seem very futuristic, how about 3D printed organs! Sounds like science fiction doesn’t it?
OrganOvo is working on the technology to 3D bioprint human cells and tissues that mimic the behavior of organic tissues. These organs will be used for the drug testing and discovery process which significantly reduces the costs and risks since no living beings are involved. The Healthcare industry had economic barriers that prevented early-stage startups and ventures to enter the market.
Now anyone can spin up a printer to print their own organs and test the effects of various drugs more efficiently.
The technology is not limited to just drug discovery and testing. Researchers have 3D printed a heart using human cells with blood vessels and chambers. They believe that soon people won’t have to look for donors and lab-grown organs will be available to the public.
The applications and possibilities with 3D printing are vast, it is probably the most underhyped technology in my opinion. It is just a matter of time and we will make our own products using the purchased CAD files, NFTs, or our imagination. One day, we will make our own clothes, medicines, and even food.
We have a long way to go, but all the big things start small. Soon, 3D printing will become as normal as cooking.
But this industry is still under-regulated and poses threats in a lot of ways. With the advancements in this technology, illegal weapons and drugs will become easier to manufacture. The digital divide will widen the gap between rich and poor, and traditional manufacturers will initially suffer losses.
As with any technology, 3D printing has its own social implications and negative use cases. It is up to the user and the government to regulate how it’s used.