Think back just a mere two or three years and the hot topic of the tech world was 3-D printing. There were pieces on all the possibilities 3-D printing opens up to creative people who’ve previously had to deal with manufacturing costs as a barrier to the progress of their exploration of the production process and there were all sorts of predictions, forecasts and general all-round excitement. As with all other forms of new technology which takes centre stage however, the natural life cycle of 3-D printing technology, preceded by its evolution has seen the costs associated with its acquisition decrease considerably. A 3-D printer costs way less these days than it might have about two to three years ago, but all the hype around 3-D printing seems to have died a spectacularly quiet death. This breeds the question of whether or not the development of 3-D printing tech has indeed hit a plateau. It definitely seems that way.
The Indicative Use of 3-D printing Technology
When 3-D printing was in the spotlight and all manner of possibilities were discussed around its domestic use, most of the focus around its use was aimed at printing complete objects made out of compatible materials, such as steel, rubber and plastic. So essentially it was a matter of being able to print your own toys at home, pretty much and naturally that can get very boring very quickly. Many people justifiably feel that spending so much money on a 3-D printer just isn’t worth its indicative ability to print homemade toys as its ultimate offering and in a sense this is what contributed largely to the apparent plateau this piece of tech’s development has hit.
Exploring the True Potential of 3-D Tech
Traditional “2-D” printing on paper or any other flat medium has perhaps limited our collective view of just what 3-D printing has to offer. Consumers tend to view it in terms of what comes out of the printer being the absolute final product and that is where I feel we’re largely getting it wrong. What comes out of the nozzle, layer-by-layer, doesn’t have to be a miniature plastic basketball, a cup or anything of that sort. 3-D printing draws its biggest power from the fact that you can essentially print important components and vital cogs using this technology, which in turn can be used to assemble more sophisticated objects of better value. If one of the racks which forms an important part of your stainless steel shelving is bent or broken for instance, you could replace it quite effectively through 3-D printing.
You’d otherwise not likely be able to buy just one rack for your steel shelving separately and that is what 3-D printing offers – a nice platform with which to produce little tools and contraptions which in turn can be used to create valuable final outputs, whether you print a mould, a tool, a cog or anything else really, what comes out of the 3-D printer is only a small part of the final product.