Have you heard the buzz on 3D Printing? Maybe you read about the evolution of printing devices lately. More and more 3D printers are coming out on the market, and are ingenious for "printing", or manufacturing, a wide variety of products. With 3D printing you can mass produce custom or personalized products without incurring a significant price increase. We are talking about significantly lowering the cost and risk of manufacturing, transforming many sectors of the manufacturing industry.
Many more sectors are able to utilize 3D printing as we progress; new materials like stainless steel, glass, and in the last month, silver are added to the Shapeways line, an online marketplace offering personalized production via 3D printers spun out of of Royal Philips Electronics. Looking for more fun? FigurePrints, a Seattle company, makes 3D replicas of Xbox Live avatars and World of Warcraft characters. Larger manufacturers are also coming on board, including Clark’s, the British shoe brand, which this month began using Z Corp’s 3D printers for prototyping. More than 20% of the output from 3D printers is actually final products, according to Terry Wohlers, who runs a research firm specializing in the field, and this number is sure to grow substantially. 3D printing is also used for quite remarkable production, like medical implants that are more likely to stay put than conventional ones.
One day I am sure you will own something manufactured by a 3D printer, whether it is a custom made shoe, a replica of your avatar, or a femur implant.