Imagine Your Future in 3D; it Adds Up Big Time

Making physical artifacts, bikinis, fashion toys and trinkets are mundane stuffs you can do with a 3D printer. 
3D Printing

They are printing houses in China, model concept cars in Japan, fighter jet parts in UK and customized spacecraft and instrument parts at NASA! The ominous part is that this creative technology might also be used to destroy. If you can make spacecraft parts, you can make missiles and guns. There is already a video at You Tube (unless it is taken down) of someone firing a few rounds of live ammunition from a gun pieced with 3D printed parts.

No More “Die Waiting?”

Life-saving breakthroughs are encouraging, the potential is mindboggling, to say the least. In China, a 3D printed part of the vertebra was successfully implanted in a boy, low cost prosthetic limbs for amputees are being 3D printed and successfully used, people are using 3D printed robotic exoskeleton (WREX) to enable the functionality of their limbs and reconstructive surgery on the face of an accident victim had been successfully performed with the aid of 3D technology and the 3D printer.
Scientists are now into printing human tissues, including brain tissues. Skin and body parts such as noses and ears have been printed with the injection of live tissues from a 3D printer. Thousands of people die every day in hospitals all over the world, waiting for donor organs. In another decade, this will probably be a non-issue. Can you imagine that? Surveying the speed of development in this industry, this may materialize, earlier than you think.
This is a report from Stat, a health, medicine and science discovery site:
“By contrast, 3-D printing is increasingly being used in the clinic for things like customized knee and jaw replacements using plastics and titanium. Those medical and dental applications represented a more than $500 million in the global market in 2014, according to Wohlers Associates, a Colorado-based consulting firm focused on 3-D-printing.”

Eat Your Heart Out and a Brain or Two?

This is one technology that can please your five senses. A new culinary experience awaits, if you are okay with cuisines from the same machine that prints the menu. They are printing chocolates and other foods today. You can have food in any shape or configuration you want. You can even eat your own 3D printed brain, or your heart if you are up to it. NASA is also working on enabling astronauts to have 3D printed food in space. You can truly eat your heart out in the future!
3D Printing

A Quick and Dirty Primer

The world is going to be addicted to additive. This is how it works.
Prior to the printing process, a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file of the object you want must be created using a 3D modelling program. A 3D scanner can be used to replicate an existing object. The 3D modelling software slices the final model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers.
The printer will create an object layer by layer driven by the uploaded prepared file. This is called additive manufacturing, the 3D printer reads every 2D sliced image of the object and creates the final three dimensional object by blending the layers immaculately. Depending on your needs, the current commercial materials include metal, thermoplastic, polymers and wax. Data provided by industry players projected that metal will be a predominant material used in the near future.
The 3D printing industry is expected to grow by 20%-35% annually! It is expected to be a $ 12 billion business within the next decade, a more than 300% growth from 2013!
Why does it matter to you? In 10 years, it is expected that personal 3D printers will be as ubiquitous as the personal computers. Growth is trending as robust, like “making computing personal” days. Today, you can have a personal 3D printer, for a few hundred bucks today.  A few thousand dollars will get you one with commercial or business capabilities. This is a cheaper investment than the personal computer when it was launched.
However, in the next few years, you can expect to see community 3D printing shops.  Hubs will sprout where you can get the object of your desire produced in 3D, as long as you have a CAD file prepared.  Amazon has a 3D printing store already in its stable of services. Amazon’s investment validates the viability of the opportunities in this industry. These are small and medium business opportunities you can explore to start your multinational corporation.
New jobs and businesses will grow to support the burgeoning industry. Consultants, 3D-prenuers, 3D designers and a host of other unique jobs are emerging. This trend supports the prediction that Industry 4.0 will create more jobs than it erases.  Already, there are companies offering consulting services. A listed company, Nano Dimensions is a business with tremendous potential, supplying 3D printed high end electronics components including printed circuit boards. This is still early days. The size of the potential of the industry is as expansive as the size of your imagination.
3D printing

Someday, you can expect your mechanic to get the precise auto part for your car, printed in his workshop, while you wait. A JIT (just in time) service. A brand new part. Direct from the 3D printer to your car! No more waiting for out of stock parts. And probably cheaper too. You may think the scenario is stretched.
You may think this story is stretched too; someone has already printed an exact replica of the Lamborghini Aventador for just 5 % of its tag price of $400,000. How cool is that?
3D printing, it is a disruptive technology that is going to change the way we live, work and play, creating new business and career opportunities. Don’t be mistaken, this is not a future opportunity, there is a lot of buzz now. And a huge future. For you too. If you are willing to learn, take the risk and dive in.


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