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3D Printing Will Make the World a Better Place and Beyond

by | Apr 12, 2022 | Technology

We are in a whole new world now where we’re merging software, material and science. Objects are taking shape as if by magic, created one layer at a time by machines. They can be made from plastics or even metals and concrete. Construction plans are swiftly brought to life. A project can move from the drawing board to the finished product with remarkable speed. This is 3D printing.

3D printing is bringing many changes to many important aspects of our life. Printing anything from fully functioning cars to dinners. Medical research institutions are even experimenting with printing functioning body parts.

3D printers create a three-dimensional object by printing ultra-thin sheets in sequence and stacking them on top of each other to form a three-dimensional shape. The technical term is “additive manufacturing.” It centers around layering materials to create objects that range in shape, size, rigidity and color.

3D printers use less material, labor and energy as they turn out new designs. it allows goods to be produced closer to the point of consumption. This technique reduces waste by using only the precise amount of material needed to make everything from plastic parts to dental pieces or human replacement tissue.

Like traditional manufacturing, additive manufacturing needs energy, but it gives off less smoke and other toxic fumes. And the biggest benefits come from the possibility of printing farms and mini-factories closer to customers. Hence, companies will need much less shipping.

Everybody has accepted the idea that in manufacturing, economies of scale are essential to delivering low-cost goods. However, this has increased consumerism and created a throwaway ethic. Thus impacting the environment. Mini-mills and flexible production methods with 3-D manufacturing will be beneficial to the environment.

As we make goods with less material, closer to consumers and create less waste. We will put much less carbon in the atmosphere. In other words, 3-D printing will catch on to managers and customers to abandon old assumptions change their habits and think laterally.

Instead of manufacturing to stock, companies will produce for real-time demand. Industrial customers will also learn how to wait until they need something. Freight transport accounts for about a quarter of all carbon emissions. Manufacturing near consumers will reduce transportation as well as carbon emissions.

By eliminating the need for international shipping and transit, 3D printers can help companies cut costs and empower customers by bringing products closer to them. As a result, their impact on the manufacturing industry will only continue to grow. It also changed the way businesses deliver to customers.

3d printing an internal combustion engine
Image by Christian Reil from Pixabay

The shipping behemoth UPS relies on an extensive network of warehouses to cater to the needs of its industrial customers. It has installed large 3D printers at its central hub in Louisville, intending to reduce warehouse space and shipping distances.

In 2017 UPS launched a partnership with SAP, the German technology consulting firm, to print spare parts for clients on demand. UPS is effectively reinventing itself as a logistics company instead of a shipper.

Cities are increasingly under threat of flooding with melting permafrost and ice cap. These cities can benefit from 3D-printed seawalls. A company has designed complex curved cement surfaces that disperse wave energy in many directions.

Another problem that 3D printing can solve is construction waste. Construction is one of the most wasteful industries on the planet. By 2025, annual construction waste is expected to reach 2.2 billion tons. Furthermore, fossil fuels are used for both the processing and transportation of material.

By eliminating the need for transportation and hauling of waste, 3D printing could help reduce or even eliminate piles of subtractive manufacturing processes. And many other applications may help us avert the worst of a future climate crisis.

Traditional building materials and the construction industry emit a lot of CO2. And the construction industry creates a lot of waste in the process of construction. In 2015 a startup in Chattanooga, Tennessee, create a revolutionary technology that combines industrial robots, sophisticated algorithms and a freeform extrusion technology that allows materials to solidify in free space. Thus increasing precision and reducing waste.

This technology is called Cellular Fabrication and draws inspiration from the way nature creates form and structure and stands to revolutionize the construction industry through unprecedented design freedom and resource stewardship.

The advantages of 3-D printing are manifold. It allows design freedom and development of a new construction product that can be lighter, stronger, faster on-site production and greater design through an almost waste-free process.

Additive manufacturing involves some areas of healthcare, including dentistry and printed tissue for transplants. Even human bones and organs can be molded with cells. And thanks to their ability to mimic any shape, 3D printers can even produce bullets.

In addition to its versatility, additive manufacturing is incredibly customizable. It allows designers to make virtually any type of complex design, prosthetic or surgical guide. No two bodies are alike, so customization is essential. 3D printers excel at this task and are being used for medical purposes.

Medical facilities are already 3D printing prosthetics for amputees in war-torn regions. If this process becomes more affordable for everyone, it could transform the lives of millions of amputees. Using 3D printing technology in medicine may not be limited to prosthetics, it could be used to make surgical instruments cheaper and more effective.

Another revolutionary application, printing entire homes is a move that may speed up disaster relief and recovery after events such as hurricanes which are becoming more frequent and devastating because of climate change. While home prices and climate change are on the rise worldwide, young people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint while achieving their goal of owning a house.

Additive manufacturing can make construction more sustainable as it produces zero waste, cuts down on transportation costs and can even be environmentally friendly. One Chinese company, Winsun has already shown the world how it can print ten concrete homes in a day. The technology has already allowed the company to produce a five-story apartment building and a one-hundred square-meter villa in a single day.

As mentioned earlier, 3D printing allows users to produce almost any object in three dimensions and is a perfect learning tool. You can create realistic and interactive prototypes of a difficult concept or design. It can also improve consistency and decrease the number of defective parts.

Additive manufacturing cuts down on prototyping time and costs, giving businesses a distinct advantage. It also allows companies to produce frequent prototypes of their new products, creating highly effective product launches. With the 3D printing process, you can even create full-size prototypes of new products, allowing you to test them in real life.

Regardless of the topic, students can create mini-models of complex objects, helping them to learn through hands-on interaction and also bring on innovative ideas. But, perhaps the most tantalizing prospect for 3-D printing will be space exploration and colonization.

Imagine a human settlement on Mars, instead of asking for equipment, parts and components to be shipped from Earth, a 3D printer is available to create everything it needs using local raw materials. That would save not only money but also time, given that it takes seven months to travel from Earth to Mars.

Image courtesy of Archdaily

In addition to being a great tool, 3D printers can also be used to manufacture parts for astronauts and spacecraft. A 3D printer on Mars would print out the first human settlement on another celestial body. This would be a cheaper option than setting up a base on Mars.

Not only would this technology make the first human settlement on another celestial body possible, but it could also be the first step in colonizing Mars. Imagine how great a leap this would be for mankind and how many more places we could colonize using 3D printers.

Additive manufacturing has the potential to change the world and make a positive impact on people’s lives. The technology has the potential to improve local production, increase creativity and reduce carbon emissions. However, there may be a panoply of benefits from 3D printing but there are also drawbacks

For instance, it will endanger some of the most skilled and best-paying blue-collar occupations, especially those involved in certain parts of the supply chain. The political implications could be significant as well and consider the fact that simple firearms can now be made using 3D printers.

What’s essential to grasp about 3-D printing is that it truly changes the rules of the game. If you can imagine something, you can probably print it too. However, despite some potential risks associated with the process, the benefits are substantial. The possibilities are endless and 3D printing is fast becoming an important tool for everyday life.

It is a rapidly expanding industry with many applications, from manufacturing medical devices to creating toys and jewelry. With a few tweaks, 3D printing can be used to help the planet become more environmentally sustainable.

In fact, some researchers believe that this technology can help improve the lives of people in less developed regions also. The future of 3D printing is bright, providing speeds and simpler solutions. This technology will become more versatile and widespread in the future. As new materials become available, 3D printers will be able to produce even more customized products.