It wasn’t long ago that the idea of printing something in three dimensions sounded like science fiction. But over the past decade, 3D printers have become widespread and are now use to create everything from decorative baubles to robot parts to medical devices. Experts predict 3D printers will be common in homes in coming years.
Let first see, how 3D printer exactly works; it is the process of making a digital file made with CAD (Computer Aided Design) or animation modeling software into a solid object in the physical world. 3D printing allows us to take our ideas from concept into creation. Companies such as HP Inc. and Autodesk are buying into this market and fuelling up to make it as the major part of their businesses.
In order to find some structure in the chaos, we scanned the most important 3D printing blogs and journal articles about today’s 3D printing industry trends and compiled a list some topics most likely to shape the world of 3D printing.
3Doddler Pen: Bogue and Dilworth set out to streamline the design to create a more user-friendly pen and named it, the 3Doodler. It works like a sophisticated hot-glue gun: A heating element melts plastic, and it is extruded out through a nozzle. But glue guns use a hand pump to push the plastic out of the tip, which can make it clump. The challenge with the 3Doodler was to find a way to make the plastic flow steadily and smoothly, so the inventors designed the pen with a motor to propel the plastic filament. Despite its early success, the initial iterations of the 3Doodler were still not satisfying, as it was too hot.
Later, the new pen, known as the 3Doodler Start, is designed for kids ages 8 and older. The rechargeable battery and 16 different colours of filaments make the pen ideal for not just recreational use but also classroom use. In particular, the company is hoping that the new pen will significantly enhance STEM education.
3D Printed Fur: Researchers have developed software and a new technique for creating 3-D printed hair, or hair-like structures, which can be used in a wide array of forms and functions. Beyond the aesthetic appeal of individual hairs, the 3D-printed version could be designed for connecting, moving or even sensing other objects.
The researchers also created a model, in the form of a toy rabbit, for how the artificial hair could be used as a sensory tool. When petted front to back; a microphone embedded in the rabbit picks up a signal and the rabbit lights up green. But when rubbed the “wrong” way, the fur sounds different, and the rabbit will flash red.
3D Bio-Printer: Scientists can now “print” human-size bones, cartilage, and muscle, using a new device called a 3D bio-printer, according to a new study. The tissue and organ structures produced by the printer could one day be used to replace injured or diseased tissues in human patients, the researchers said.
The device prints cell together with polymer materials that help to form and mimic the shape of the original tissues. To overcome the issue of the size limit, the researchers printed a lattice of micro-channels throughout the tissues so that nutrients and oxygen could be delivered to cells deep within the tissues. These channels allow “nutrients to get to the cells and keep feeding them so they don’t die,” Atala told Live Science.
3D Printed Ceramics: One potential strategy for making ceramics that have complex shapes is 3D printing. A 3D printer usually works by depositing layers of material, just as ordinary printers lay down ink, except that, 3D printers can also lay down flat layers on top of each other to build 3D objects. The device can then solidify the printed object using, say, ultraviolet light. This new material could find use in hypersonic aircraft and microscopic devices.
3D Printed Sneakers: The shoe and clothing company recently unveiled its Future craft 3D sneaker; a running shoe with a 3D-printed midsole (the part between the inner sole that touches your foot and the outer sole that touches the ground). To get the measurements needed to 3D print a custom shoe part, sneaker lovers will first have to run on a specially equipped treadmill. Embedded with foot-scanning technologies, the treadmill track will relay information to a computer that creates a design for the personalized midsole. The design file can then be sent to a 3D printer.
Though the 3D-printed sneakers in Adidas’ video are made for runners, the new manufacturing technique can meet the needs of any athlete.
3D Printed Drones: A new jet-powered drone might be the most complex flying machine ever built using 3D printing. The drone, which made its debut at the Dubai Airshow earlier this month, looks nothing like your average 3D-printed toy plane. It has a 9-foot-long (3 meters) wingspan and an aerodynamic design that gives it a futuristic appearance.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest, fastest and most complex 3D-printed UAV ever produced,” Dan Campbell, an aerospace research engineer at Aurora Flight Sciences, said in a statement.
Metal 3D Printing: The 3D Welder uses metal wire which is melted to bond with the metal structure. It is expected that starting this year, new 3D printers for the home will be available for sale, which will be able to print in metal. This new possibility will revolutionize 3D technology. It is a big step in printing more solid and attractive models, with a more realistic look.
Currently, 3D printing technology makes use of powdered titanium, nickel, aluminium, and steel. It is considered that optimizing powdered metals for 3D printing might overcome a part of the burden and make additive manufacturing materials more cost-effective.
Multicolour 3D Printing: There are several methods available for multicolour printing, one of which is the Palette – a stand-alone box that can feed the multicoloured filament to any monochrome 3D printer. The only thing that might be perceived as a problem is the slight increase in material use, every time the printer stops and changes colour. Another method is the multicolour’s sandstone 3D printing. In this case, the sandstone is printed and fused together during printing process.
Currently, a team of 3D printing enthusiasts from Denmark developed the so-called “Diamond Hotend”, a 3D extruder that can mix and melt three filaments together and produce multiple colours. The entrepreneurs don’t want to stop here and are still in the process of developing and testing new colour effects, to make multicolour 3D printing more colourful. With this new extruder, multicolour 3D printing technology will be reaching new heights.
Conclusion: 3D printing processes have made a lot of progress since they have entered the market. 2016, however, promises to be the breakthrough year for the technology, which has managed to form a large fan base, spread all around the world. These advancements will help 3D printing development to accelerate and become a trendsetter among 3D technology followers.