3D printing and how it's changing our world?

Michael Gabrian

by Michael Gabrian on 09/22/2016

Innovative 3D printing trends

3D printing has been growing for a while but a lot of it's ambitions aren't commonly known. Where will 3D printing lead? To what scale? And how will it really change our lives? It's surprising how far we've come already and where we plan on going. We've already built homes for the homeless at a very little cost and we are finding new ways to change the health industry. Let's dive a little deeper.

“If we get a 3D printer at the office, the first thing I'm printing with it is a new 3D printer just for me!”
-The Covert Comic

Food

This sounds crazy right? Companies like Modern Meadow have been actively searching for ways to produce leather using live cells without the use of animals. They grow collagen, found in animal skin, to create their leather hide.

Imagine finding ways to print out meat without having to harm animals. Here’s a fact: global livestock contributes to 14.5% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions. The reason this number is so high could be the result of increased breeding to provide food for our growing population. By finding ways to print meat, we would no longer have a need to breed so much livestock.

Prosthetics, Limbs, and Organs

Dealing with Different seems to sum up the evolution of prosthetics in a handful of great points: cost, speed, versatility, and growth. While traditional prosthetics could cost thousands of dollars, a 3D printed one costs about $50 and can be printed in a day. You really can’t beat that. They can also be customized to the owner. This means adapting it for performance, activities, outdoor use, and degree of artistic look. With this in mind, reproduction as the owner ages is incredibly easy.

With organic limbs and organs, it’s a similar process to the previous section. According to Happonomy, the printer will use a combinations of cells and hyrdogel. Your cells are the building blocks, the hydrogel just holds it all in place and will gradually be removed. We’re years away from creating full limbs, but 3D printers have been able to create skin, tracheas, and bladders.

Architecture

There has been a lot of really cool progress with printing homes and buildings. China has already printed several homes, offices, and apartment buildings. Cnet.com stated:

“This process saves between 30 and 60 percent of construction waste, and can decrease production times by between 50 and 70 percent, and labour costs by between 50 and 80 percent. In all, the villa costs around $161,000 to build.”

The time and money we can save from using 3D printers to build homes and buildings is tremendous. Not to mention the waste that get recycled in the process.





The Environment

The use of 3D printers has also been showing promise for our environment. 3dprint.com helps us assume that we can save by recycling plastics, save on fuel when shipping, and produce less waste in production.

Let’s think of recyclables. We can use recycled plastics, and maybe eventually metals, to print new products. This process can be ongoing to the point where we can even recycle old products. With printers, the creation of products is precise, leaving little to no room for waste. This also means we don’t have to ship as many products, so we’d be using less fuel.

People are coming up with new ideas and ways to use 3D printers every day. How could your company use them?