Recently, the Science Museum in London, United Kingdom held an exhibition called ‘3D: printing the future’. The exhibition explores on the numerous application 3D has to offer and what does it means for the future. 3D printing allows us to create any object no matter how complex it is from the ground up with just the click of the button. It lets people to create affordable and imaginative individual items. 3D printing can also create complex and detailed objects with multiple parts as a single piece with no assembly required as shown in figure 2. A much more advance 3D printer is also able to print object from steel, and although the 3D printer is pricey but it can make many mechanical parts that will save more energy and money over the life span.
This 3D printing innovation will also change the way people shop. With 3D printer, it can make object right according to the consumer’s need and preference; the style, the colour, details and colour and actually see them before buying it. Since 3D printing has become more available and accessible for the consumer, they are able to purchase a basic printer for less than £1000 or access one through any 3D printing services. And not to mention, the material of it are cheaper and more eco-friendly compared to others like plastic.
Since everyone are all unique individuals, the medical needs for each are different. Right now the power of 3D printing are being harness by medical experts to create implants for teeth or patching bones and create cells. The Video below shows how 3D printing helps to create a patch for a broken skeleton. If someone is having a serious illness usually he would need to take 20 tablets a day, but with 3D printer it is possible to combine the active ingredients of different drug into just 1 tablet. Thus making the medicine more effective. And right now there are medical researchers that are working to print ear, noses, fingers and also internal human organs. In the future the whole medical industry will revolve around 3D printing.
Video 1. Demonstration of how 3D printing helps in creating a new patch.
Being able to print almost virtually anything, it is not a surprise that people would actually start to print guns. Last year someone was able to create a successful 3D printed guns that can only be fired once. That itself raised a serious safety and security concern. Recently in Manchester, a 3D printed gun parts was found in a police raid (BBC, 2013). And just last month in November, a company based in Texas, USA managed to create the world’s first metal 3D printed hand gun that is capable to fire 50 rounds of ammunition without breaking. (Gibbs, 3013)
Video 2. Metal 3D Printed Gun being demonstrated.
And despite the numerous issue 3D printing may led to, it is certainly is an innovation that will paved our way to the future.
BBC (2013) ‘3D printer ‘gun parts’ found in Manchester raid’. [online] 25 October 2013. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-24666591 [Accessed 1 December 2013]
Gibbs, S (2013) ‘First metal 3D printed gun is capable of firing 50 shots’, The Guardian. [online] 8 November 2013. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/08/metal-3d-printed-gun-50-shots [Accessed 1 December 2013]
Solid Concepts Inc. (2013) ‘World’s First 3D Printed Metal Gun’. 6 November 2013. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7ZYKMBDm4M [Accessed 1 December 2013].
List of Image
Figure 11. Picture of the ‘First Metal 3D printed Gun’, (2013) [image online] ‘First metal 3D printed gun is capable of firing 50 shots’, The Guardian. 8 November 2013. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/08/metal-3d-printed-gun-50-shots [Accessed 1 December 2013]