3D Printing: Behind the Magic Curtain

3D printing is one of the hottest things going right now. The site of an object growing over time under a dancing robotic arm will mesmerize the expert, the novice, and everyone in between. 3D printing is in a similar state today as desktop computers found themselves in the late 80’s. The technology has limitless potential but it is in its infancy, and we are just at the beginning of figuring out what to do with it.

If you were first mesmerized by a 3D printer within the last five years, you might be surprised to find out that the technology is not all that new. The first 3D printer was invented in the early 1980’s. Professional engineers and designers have been using 3D printers for over two and a half decades. 3D printers have even found their way into products you may have used. My favorite example is Invisalign. The clear trays are a perfect fit for being manufactured by a 3D printer and are produced by an army of SLA printers on demand.

Desktop 3D printers have recently become affordable enough for an average person to own. They benefit from the same technology that has enables Toys R Us to sell drones and your cell phone to have more computing power than what sent astronauts to the moon.

Like any other technology, 3D printing is getting more user-friendly and more reliable every day. We have already arrived at a day where a power user can achieve a three-dimensional printed part, and we are getting close to a day when printing parts will be as easy as printing a Word document for any average person.

The only question left is, what are we going to print? I will answer this question in future posts!