It has been said that the future arrived yesterday. It could not be more true than with 3D Printing. We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg, the size and scale is yet to come. This is the beginning of the beginning. The 3D Printing market is set for unprecedented growth. Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the industry as having virtually unlimited potential. As each day passes new breakthroughs are made with new applications of 3D Printing. Industries from aerospace to pharmaceuticals are pushing past our preconceived notions of what is possible by printing the impossible.
For manufacturing, 3D Printing is in a transformative stage. SpaceX’s SuperDraco engine was too complex to be created using traditional manufacturing methods. The only way it could have been created was through 3D Printing. The result is a successful test launch that will lead to the first reusable manned spacecraft since the retired Space Shuttle.
GE is using 3D Printing to create fuel nozzles used in their Boeing Jets, moving from 20 separate parts to only 1, which not only reduces waste, but also saves on shipping and other costs. The largest commercial jet engine created by GE, the Boeing 777X, was built using 3D printed parts. They printed an entire working jet engine the size of a football.
There are continuous technological advancements in healthcare as well. Developments are made in printing working organs and skin tissues, which may one day eliminate the wait for organ donations among over 100,000 Americans (http://www.organdonor.gov/about/data.html). The FDA just approved the first 3D printed drug, a breakthrough that would allow more precise and personalized dosages. Some day we may be able to print our prescription medications in our own home.
The potential of 3D Printing will impact almost every facet of our lives. Will prosthetic limbs become available to everyone? Will burn victims have fully repaired skin tissue? Will we print our lost keys in the comfort of our home? These and many more questions may be answered by 3D Printing. The possibilities are endless as the industry advances on almost a daily basis. This is the dawn of a new future. We believe that the best is yet to come.
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Written by Robert Hudson