The applications of 3D Printing
Grifoll, as industrial and promotional printer, is always interested in knowing about incoming technologies. 3D Printing has been a recurring topic for some years now, not for its industrial uses, which are minimum, but for its abality to potentially impact education, medicine or consumption.
The gradual democratization of prices translates into a growing spread of 3D printing machines. Lately President Obama has proposed to bring a 3D printing machine to each American classroom. They are aready used in many universities to create three-dimensional molecular compounds, art objects and body mockups.
Also in the field of medicine 3D printing is making interesting contributions. By creating models of the parts of a patient to be treated, surgeons can plan and test surgeries, try different solutions or even substitute a bone for an exact 3D replica.
Regarding consumers, change will come in two different ways. The first one on can be sum up in the business idea of a Russian start-up. By making a high-quality scan of a painting, they can replicate masterpieces to the last detail, including the texture of each brush-stroke. We will be able to have a Picasso at home, turning uniqueness obsolete.
The second way consumption will be affected is in the consumer-producer relation. Everyone will be able to become a producer, at least in an individual scale. This starts to generate controversy, specially due to free access to 3D files describing how to produce parts and products that may go against copyright or break the law. The user will be able, having a 3d printing machine, to create parts in order to fix the toilet thanks to a document light enough to be in an emai. What will happen then to companies that produce these parts? If they start selling the files for producing the products, how will they avoid piracy and free sharing?
On the other hand the possibilities for innovation become huge. Anybody can take a design and modify it, making it better, and then share it to someone who will improve it even more. 3D Printing has come to the point of making real projects that only five years ago were impossible to imagine, such as space mining, genetic jewelry, etc.
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