Since their first commercial appearance in the 1990’s, 3D printers have been usually employed in factories to make small parts of vehicles, airplanes, etc. 3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional solid objects in a variety of shapes, usually deposited layer by layer using a single material.
One of the most impressive advances of this technology is the ability for new printers to switch between different printable materials. By efficiently alternating between different materials, 3D printers can create more detailed designs and hard materials. For example, harder materials can alternate with softer ones to create movable objects like a robot that could walk using air.
Another important improvement in the growing 3D printing industry is the ability for them to build much bigger objects than before, like entire boats, bridges, buildings and rockets. What used to take weeks and even months to be built, researchers have now been able to build a boat in just 72 hours by building the vessel using a 3D printer.
3D printers work fast, and this allows whole units to be created in a much faster way. Some prototypes can now print at a rate of 150lbs an hour and use a variety of materials like plastic, metal, graphite, graphene and carbon-fiber in order to create more effective machine parts.
What will the future bring for 3D printing technology? Right now, it looks as if the sky’s the limit for all the enthusiastic researches, looking to deliver even more opportunities for industries to benefit from this innovative equipment.