3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of manufacturing objects by creating successive layers of material.  All that is required is a virtual design from computer aided design (CAD) or animation modelling software and a machine that “prints” successive layers of material one on top of the other, until the object is complete.

3D printing has been used in industry for years; applications for industry are far reaching, from jewellery to aerospace, medical to education and beyond.  The cost of a 3D printer has typically meant that it was not something many individuals could afford.

But there is a new revolution happening.  Some are tipping it to be as big as the industrial revolution in reverse.  3D printing is coming to a home near you.  Right now in sheds and garages around the world, small scale, inexpensive 3D printers are printing themselves, along with a plethora of other plastic widgets and whatnots.

Incredibly, you can get the design for a 3D printer, essentially for free!

“We decided to give all the designs away…it was actually going to be a very powerful technology. And if you have people who have access to it and people who don’t, that makes for bad things happening…” Adrian Bowyer, Engineer and 3D printer designer.

With huge implications for copyright laws, what if you could bypass the manufacturers and simply print the things you need in your own backyard, using shredded plastic milk cartons that have been melted by your 3D printer?

Check out this fantastic story about Adrian Bowyer that explains what 3D printing is and the potential it has to change the future of manufacturing and perhaps capitalism as we know it.


Did you know?

Thanks to 3D printing, researchers, engineers and dentists have teamed up to create the world’s first prosthetic beak for Beauty the bald eagle, who was shot in the face by a poacher in 2005.

“After a two-hour-long procedure, Beauty can now eat and drink by herself, though she’s not ready to be released back into the wild.
The eagle remains at Birds of Prey Northwest, the conservation facility that spearheaded the recovery project..” View the full article from Mashable.