3D printers are now more popular than ever, due in part to the advancement in technology, availability of new materials and the lower cost of printing. This means that more and more industries have adopted 3D printers in their everyday operation, with 60% of 3D printing now being done in the workplace rather than being outsourced.
The medical industry was the first to utilise 3D printing as soon as it emerged. From the start, the medical industry has pushed the boundaries of the technology and 3D printing capabilities, from creating bespoke internal prosthetics, printing medication and creating 3D models from MRI scans. Thanks to these advances, the time patients are waiting for prosthetics have reduced, made surgical procedures safer for patients and decreased the cost all at the same time. The next revolutionary step the industry is currently working on is the ability to print tissue that resembles human tissue to repair and replace patients organs.
With the advances of 3D printers, they now come in all shapes and sizes from world’s smallest iBox Nano to the double-decker bus size printer, capable of making complex aircraft wings. The small mobile 3D printers offer a new use for those in remote locations, such as in a disaster area with limited power. These small printers can easily print a pipe repair in less than an hour, allowing people to get back to their everyday life. On the other hand, architects have been using huge scale 3D printers to build entire buildings, which only need 24 hours to dry! Although the printing of these buildings has been successful, they are yet to be used widely across the construction industry due to the time and room required for the huge 3D printer.
There are few drawbacks to using 3D printing, however, the biggest negative is the time it takes to print these products. Although this time has decreased over the past few years, the production lends itself more to the traditional one-off print, such as prototypes, or low quantity production runs and replacement parts.
Here at Altimex, we have taken advantage of 3D printing technology from creating jigs for production to enabling the design team to prototype finished systems with electronic circuits in them. We even designed our Rubik’s cube solving robot to showcase our electronic systems capability. Contact us today to see how we can use 3D printing in your projects.