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3D Printing is the best know form of "Additive Manufacturing" that is starting to play an even more significant part in the industrial manufacturing process. Today' printers are already magnitudes faster than those from even a few years ago with the ability to add color, different materials and even vary the flexibility of different within the same 3D printed object. Their faster print speeds and the increasing number of materials that can be used means that 3D printers are starting move away from simply being machines rapid prototypes machines to mass production vehicles.


Industrial Manufacturing

It is unlikely to replace all traditional forms of manufacturing, but for the right applications, 3D printing offers compelling benefits. 3D printing can make objects with a complex internal structure that would be almost impossible using traditional methods.

​There’s no large factory and no retooling of an entire assembly line. The same printer that creates a new cover for your phone can also be used next to print critical component for an engine. All of these printers can be kept close to the point of consumption, which has positive implications for logistics as well.

Metal Applications

The aerospace industry is already using 3D printers to manufacture parts for the current generation of aircraft.

​EADS used a 3D printer to manufacture a wing bracket. The part which is pictured on the right is stronger and lighter and yet uses less material than its traditionally manufactured equivalent (behind it).

Medical Applications

3D printing technology is being used in the field of medicine and dentistry to custom manufacture replacement bones such as hip joints as well as teeth and dentures for patients. 3D printing has also been used to pioneer new drug delivery systems.

More exciting though may be "bio-printing" the ability to print human replacement organs and other tissues. The method will involves using the patients own cells to make sure that the organs are not rejected by the body one of the biggest complications with organ replacements.

3D Printing Applications Include Construction

Potential end market applications for 3D printing are still being developed and may be soon be commercially viable.

One area where the technology is being explored is in construction where 3D printing processes have been shown to be able to build walls and even entire houses. The walls of the house opposite were constructed using a large 3D printer which prints in cement.