In a previous post, we covered 5 things you probably didn’t know about manufacturing–after all, it’s always good to learn something new!
But one manufacturing technology that continues to surprise us is 3D printing. It’s come quite a long ways since it was thrust into the spotlight a few years ago, and it continues to get more and more impressive every day.
With that in mind, here are 4 things that you probably didn’t know about 3D printing:
- Very soon, NASA is going to be 3D printing in space. Here at NeMAC, we love NASA—they’re great advocates for STEM skills and huge creators of new technology. They have a plan in place to send a 3D printer into space by next year, so that astronauts can make small parts that would otherwise have to be shipped up via rocket. Think about that for a minute—3D printing, in space!
- Scientists are finding ways to 3D print body parts. A technology sometimes called bioprinting allows 3D printers to create things like organs and bones. The technology is still in its infancy, but early last month, scientists in Japan 3D printed a bone and transplanted it into a patient’s neck. The best part? The bone part only cost $10 to print.
- It will soon be possible to print objects regardless of scale. Right now, 3D printers are limited by their size; they can only print objects that fit within the printer itself. But MIT researchers are developing a way to change that. Their new technology will use a variety of printing techniques to allow even small machines to print large objects, which could have huge implications for home printers.
- It’s possible to 3D print food. NASA is at it again, except this time, instead of 3D printing in space, they’re 3D printing food. This technology is actually planned to eventually end up in space for long voyages, and should allow astronauts to 3D print things like pizza. Yum.
It’s not hard to see just why we think 3D printing is so awesome–it’s incredibly versatile, and more that that, it’s really unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Many people think that it’s revolutionizing the industry, and we tend to agree.
Though it’s hard to say where 3D printing will take us over the next few years, we can say for certain that we really love where it’s at now.
What’s your favorite use of 3D printing? What ways would you like to see 3D printing used in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!