3D Printing

Ever since I saw my first 3D printed object – a small replica of a box-shaped object in Portal – it dawned on me that the world of manufacturing was about to go through a major change. And when I say major, I mean complete revolution. I have been following a few videos and articles over the past year. Here is the most recent one which inspired me to write this post.

3D Printed Car.

Ok, yes sure it took more than 2500 hours to create the prototype…but hey, you have to start somewhere. The fact that it is so light relative to normal cars can be a huge advantage for fuel efficiency.

In the future, I see 3D printers being used to create parts for all of the manufactured goods that we use on a daily basis. Chairs, tables, and utensils can all be created with 3D printers. The one predicament I see in the future is how can we regulate these printers to make sure they are being used for good reasons, and not bad ones? Take guns, for example*. At the moment, it would be extremely difficult to actually shoot a 3D printed plastic gun because it would shatter. But as we get more creative and efficient with 3D printers, who knows what possibilities will become available. That being said, I am excited to see what 3D printed object will be created next – maybe one day there will be a 3D printed house?

I expect that within our lifetime, 3D printers will be a household staple. At around $1000 a pop (though the price is falling fast) without too much functionality, it won’t be anytime too soon.

And just when 3D printing still seems like something futuristic, MIT makes it a thing of the past with its 4D printing technology. 4D printing has objects shape themselves from the energy absorption it gets when it is put into water. Check it out:

*EDIT: A friend just sent me this link about 3D printed guns.