3D printing is a rapidly advancing technology that is having a major impact on a variety of industries. Manufactures are using 3D printing to reduce the costs and waste material associated with prototyping, as well as to speed up the process. Medical and health-related companies are 3D printing organ tissue and prosthetic arms. Even the fashion industry has been experimenting with 3D printed design clothing.
3D printed prosthetics
The medical industry abounds with amazing stories of innovation involving 3D printers. “This technology is limitless,” said Dr. David Hirsch. “The only thing that's limited is our ability to think about new applications for it".
For example, Sydney Kendall lost her arm when she was 6 years old in a boating accident. She’s now 13-years old, and through 3D printing, she has a functional robotic arm. Traditionally, prosthetic limbs can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000. With 3D printers, Sydney was able to have prosthetic arm printed for $200. She can now grab a cup of coffee and catch a baseball.
These types of stories are becoming more common with the rising use of 3D printers. Scientists are even 3D printing human biological materials such as blood vessels and organs. They are also studying cancer with 3D printed cells.
3D printing in dentistry
The dental industry is benefiting from 3D printing technology as well. A common problem dentists have had was the subpar quality and slow turnaround time from outsourcing dental work such as crowns and bridges. This often resulted in the dentists having to reorder the product and patients having to wait longer than expected for their treatment and procedures.
The use of 3D printers in dental offices is decreasing the need for this type of outsourcing. Orthodontists and dentists can now develop their own bridges, crowns, and other items for their patients in-house. The reduces their cost, speeds up turnaround time, and gives the dentist more time to focus on patients.
3D printed human organs for research
3D printing is also assisting medical researchers by offering an alternative solution to engineering organs in laboratories, which is very complex because of organ cell structure. Now with the precision help of 3D printers, researchers are able to actually print small strips of organ tissue.
It may sound unbelievable to print human organs, but not only is it being done, but it is also paving the way for groundbreaking technology in the future of medicine. Researchers can now print organs for drug and vaccine testing that would otherwise have to be performed on animals or synthetic models with less accurate results.
3D printing in the automotive industry
Car manufacturers like Ford are actively using 3D printing technology to advance their industry. 3D printing makes car prototype parts much more effective and efficient. Other companies like Local Motors have invested millions in large 3D printers.
Local Motors goal is to have several microfactories across the world instead of one large factory in one location.They want people to come into the factories and customize their own car’s. They will eventually sell these cars to the public.
3D printers help photographers
Occasionally a photographer will need a lense that is not made for their specific camera. When this happens, the photographer would need to purchase or make a custom lens. 3D printing of custom lenses has now made that process faster and less expensive.
Another creative use of 3D printing has been custom printed stands for a variety of camera applications, including everything from mounting a GoPro camera on top of a still camera to fully adjustable stabilizers for long range photos.
3D printing technology is being used in multiple industries to lower costs, speed up turnaround, further research and much more.
If you’re interested in learning how 3D printing can benefit you and your business, give us a call at 281.583.7552, or contact us online.