The idea of 3D printing has been around for a long time by now but it is still not in a state suitable for mass production. However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t prepare for 3D printing to make an entrance and completely change the way we make and buy things.
So, the question we need to consider is how could 3D printing change the world?
3D printing has a great potential for bringing products and technologies to people in remote areas and transforming developing countries. If we are no longer relying on big factories to produce the things we need, we have greater autonomy and a better ability to cater for our own needs. This also has the potential for changing the way that the economy works: instead of producing products and then persuading people to buy them, products will be produced only when the demand already exists.
However, while there is a clear benefit to empowering the people, jobs may be put at risk. This is a serious consequence to consider though we should also point out that plenty of technologies have had similar impact before and the idea of human obsolescence is already firmly on the table.
A further benefit of giving this power to the masses is the potential to reduce our impact on the environment. While plastic has been demonized in recent years, it is still an incredibly versatile and useful material when used properly. The fluoropolymers used in 3D printing are often recyclable in the right conditions meaning that 3D printing could provide the perfect opportunity to create a circular home industry.
The smarter we can be with our use of materials - all materials - the lesser the impact we will have on the planet. There is no way to live a perfect life but the more we can do to limit our impact the better.
Novelties and Necessities
The technology you need for 3D printing at home is already available. However, the expense and the current usefulness of these printers isn’t quite the revolution just yet. The reason for this is that 3D printing remains something of a novelty for the casual user. People using 3D printers at home are more likely to be creating toys and models than they are something really useful!
However, 3D printing is already making waves in the medical industries, making the manufacture of bioprinted tissues possible as well as custom made prosthetics to fit perfectly. These uses have already changed medicine and provide patients, and their families, with greater hope. As 3D printing technology develops and more research is conducted, the only way is up for 3D printing within this industry.
3D printing has shown clear potential to change the world but this change still needs to be managed. While 3D printing still remains a novelty at home, it has already had a massive impact on some industries behind the scenes. For all that 3D printing has been around for a long time, it’s clear that we haven’t pushed it to its full potential yet.