The media hype for 3D printing has been very high in the last few years. Although it is nothing new in printing industry there are still some exciting 3D-printed innovations entering the market. Anyway there are some interesting developments, which are worth keeping an eye on. This is why we gathered some trends in 3D printing technologies, which printing professionals should bear in mind for the future.
Do it Faster with 3D Printing
One challenge for the 3D printing industry is to speed up printing processes. So far Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) developed by Carbon is one of the fastest 3D printing technologies on the market. It works differently from other printing technologies and can be described as a photochemical process involving a liquid interface of uncured resin and a passing light source. It does not only work faster but also prints without interruption or visible layers. In 2016 Carbon has announced their first-ever CLIP-based commercial 3D printer and we are curious about what this technique holds for the future.
Do it Bigger with 3D Printing
In some industries like the wind energy, aerospace or automotive sector the production of big and technically complex components takes a long time, needs huge and special tools and is consequently very expensive. Hybrid 3D printing can help to make these processes faster, cheaper and the components lighter. Therefore 3D printers have to be big enough to produce these huge components or the relevant tools. Currently, the biggest 3D print in the world is a tool for attaching wing components to Boeing. So this field has even more potential and large-scale hybrid 3D printers are on the rise.
Do it Fully Functional with 3D Printing
3D printing is more than just printing an object. It is also able to fabricate fully functional objects in one step, including complex electronics. But at the moment, only a few printers on the market can integrate functional elements by themselves. The Voxel8 system, for instance, is capable of printing plastic with conductive traces on it.
Bring Printed Structures to Life with 3D Printing
In the medical area, 3D printing could mean a breakthrough for transplantations. But by now, this is more theory than practical reality because printing living tissue structures is quite difficult. Last year, regenerative medicine scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Wintson-Salem, North Carolina, have made a huge leap forward in this sector after almost ten years of research. They printed ear, bone, and muscle structures, which matured into functional tissue and developed a system of blood vessels when implanted. Nevertheless, there will be much more research necessary when it comes to more complex and bigger organs.
Make Dwellings out of Plastic with 3D Printing
Building houses by 3D printers is hardly a new idea, but there is no freeform 3D-printed house built so far. This will change in 2017. A team of architects of Chicago’s WATG’s Urban Architecture Studio has announced an 800-square-foot single-family house completely made by 3D printing technology. The house will not just be fully functional with a kitchen, a bathroom, a living area, and a bedroom. It will also contain eco-friendly features such as, for example, instant and passive heating and cooling strategies.
Picture source: watg.com