3D printing, along with time travel and teleportation, is probably the most common of all the futuristic developments that have captured the public’s imagination. Remember the Star Wars character Replicator?

Or how about Tom Cruise’s face masks from the Mission: Impossible movies? In science fiction, there are many classic examples of 3D printing. However, unlike time travel or teleportation, 3D printing is a real thing that is happening right now.

3D printing is the most common name for this process, but it is also known as additive manufacturing. This specific form of the process generates three-dimensional objects from a digital model, whatever name you give it. These creations are produced using additive processes, including laying down successive layers of material to produce the product.

3D Printing Facts

Technology is increasingly changing the manufacturing industry all over the world. Surprisingly, a significant number of people are still unaware of 3D printing and its effect on their daily lives. Did you know, for example, that almost every hearing aid you see is 3D printed? Or that 3D printing is used to test the majority of vehicles that are released to the market?

facts about 3D printing
source:: Image by Alberto Adán from Pixabay

Here are some fascinating facts about 3D printing that you can share with your friends the next time you talk about technology:

1. 3D printing started in the 1980s

Yes, 3D printing is more advanced than you would believe. The history of 3D printing can be traced back to the 1980s. Chuck Hull developed the “stereolithography” process in 1984, which used UV lasers to solidify photopolymer and produce 3D parts layer by layer.

Fried Vancraen, the current CEO of Materialise, was a young man in 1985 who made his own non-computer “FDM” models. He founded Materialise, one of the first 3D printing firms, five years later.

2. There are a variety of 3D printing techniques available

While most people equate 3D printing with FDM technology and desktop 3D printers, there are many 3D printing processes. However, 3D printing isn’t limited to that. SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), HP Multi Jet Fusion, DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering), SLM (Selective Laser Melting), DLS (CLIP), and other technologies are available in 3D printing service.

facts about 3D printing
source:: Image by Christian Reil from Pixabay

Most of us are unaware of the term 3D printing in the current world, these facts about 3D printing show how fast the technology has been upgraded. Different 3D printing processes and products are available on the market, ranging from plastic to metal and resin.

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3. A model is printed in layers using 3D printers

Like your home inkjet printer, additive manufacturing operates in a similar way. To complete the job, an inkjet printer applies a single layer of ink to the paper. In contrast, a 3D printer builds up new layers on top of each previous layer until the object is complete. An escape hole is typically needed to properly print and clean your models because of the layer-by-layer printing process.

4. 3D printing is used to make 90% of all jewelry

Jewelry, like hearing aids, was one of the first companies to recognize the value of 3D printing and integrate it into current business processes. Traditional methods of making jewelry include carving the desired shapes and designs in wax by hand and then casting the molds in precious metal.

Furthermore, 3D printing allows jewelers to create intricate and complex designs, giving them creative flexibility never seen before in the industry. DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) is a proprietary technology developed by Rapid Product Innovations in collaboration with EOS.

facts about 3D printing
source:: www.freepik.com

With the emergence of 3D printing, the industry realized the ease at which these wax molds could be produced by 3D printers at a much faster pace than bare hands could. Specializing in direct metal printing for the jewelry industry, drastically reducing time-to-market. These facts about 3D printing authenticate its popularity and demand.

5. 3D printing was first used to create prototypes and tools

The primary goal of 3D printing was for factories and engineers to produce replacement tools and parts more quickly. 3D printing was often used to create scale prototypes with greater precision and accuracy than other approaches early on.

3D printing was first used to develop prototypes and tools. High demand and more advanced technology didn’t enable 3D printers to manufacture complex devices until the 2010s.

6. 3D printed food is being researched by scientists

This may sound like something out of a science fiction film, but it’s true. 3D printers are being regarded as a food source by scientists today. At the moment, 3D printed food is limited to softer ingredients such as cheese, chocolate, and syrup. Despite these limitations, scientists believe their research has potential.

One of the interesting facts about 3D printing is the printed food that can be fed. According to scientists, 3D printing can be a breakthrough for people on special diets and elderly people who can’t consume solid food. NASA is also looking into the possibility of supplying food for its astronauts.

7. 3D printing has the potential to reduce manufacturing costs

Traditional production models entail high upfront costs, storage fees, and investor confusion. Machines must be set up, space must be leased, and the produced product must be sold. 3D printing takes a more modular approach, allowing you to print orders as desired.

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facts about 3D printing
source:: Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

This can come in handy if you’re a creator or an entrepreneur looking to start a small business. The additive manufacturing method uses very little material and allows you to print when orders come in. As a result, it is less financially risky and has a lower production cost.

8. When it comes to 3D printing, intellectual property is a major issue

Although 3D printing appears to be the way of the future, it also poses a challenge to inventors and innovators. All these cost redundancy advantages are vital and beneficial facts about 3D printing.

The disadvantages of 3D printing in terms of breaching patents and copyrights have already been expressed by interested individuals and parties. Courts have also ruled that 3D printed products come under the law’s fair use conditions as long as they aren’t sold or used for benefit.

9. 3D printing can be used to build houses in space

NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX have committed to sending humans to Mars over the next 10 to 40 years, and they intend to use 3D printing to create extraterrestrial habitats. 3D printing robots are much more suited to building in space than humans, and they are also much better at it.

The winner of phase one of NASA’s design competition for building houses on Mars was ICE HOUSE, which used 3D printing and ice to create an igloo-like structure. Also, one of the major facts about 3D printing includes its ability to build houses.

facts about 3D printing
source:: spectrum.ieee.org

In the space industry, 3D printing has a range of uses. NASA successfully tested 3D printing in zero gravity by printing a ratchet wrench on the International Space Station (ISS) after sending the concept file to astronauts. This shows the potential for lower equipment transportation costs into space and setting the groundwork for logistics that would be used to colonize other planets.

10. Another potential drawback to 3D printing in the development of weapons

The ease with which 3D printing enables large-scale production of any item – including weapons – is unrivaled. Since then, the government has expressed concern about how this could jeopardize existing gun laws. Established regulations have so far covered the problem.

Making your own guns, for example, is illegal if you aren’t a licensed gun owner. It is also illegal for a single individual to produce and sell weapons. Before you can replicate a gun design owned by the National Rifle Association (NRA), you must pay additional taxes and obtain a separate license.

These were some unheard interesting facts about 3D printing. It included the history, benefits, and limitations, and the usage of 3D printing in the industry, technology, and development. Many breakthroughs yet to come in the future, 3D printing has the potential to upgrade the technology.

(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)