How many eyebrows do you think the caption above will raise?


That’s because 3D printing is omnipresent in 2015. No industry is outside its fiefdom. Automobile? Check. Aeronautical engineering? Check. Home appliance manufacturing? Check. Try naming just one industry that’s safe from 3D’s intrusion, and you’ll fail miserably.

The future

The present, being so promising makes us expect more from the future. And it seems the future innovations in 3D are likely to fall in line with our expectations. The up-and-coming innovations are so interesting that we can’t help ourselves from keeping our fingers crossed.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of those innovations. Many prefer to call them trends, and we don’t have any beef with them because both point at the same thing.

3D printing saving lives

The medical implant manufacturing industry owes 3D a debt of gratitude. 3D printed prosthetic limbs, titanium bone implants, and orthodontic devices have proven themselves invaluable in the healthcare industry.

But 3D image guided surgery has gone past all of them. 3D surgical imaging systems allow doctors perform surgeries looking at 3D images of actual organs. It saves time and reduces risk.

In the future, the machines will render better quality images. They may even be integrated with artificial intelligence. Such technologies will guide a surgeon through a surgery session and reveal every detail about an organ to him.

3D clothing

Probably, you haven’t heard of TPU yet. TPU is the acronym for thermoplastic polyurethane, a bendable material, most commonly used for manufacturing Smartphone cases. Latest reports from industry sources, however, indicate TPU could be useful in the fashion circuits too.

A company called N Topology has designed a fancy dress using TPU. The dress is stretchy, yet offers enough flexibility. A designer called Melinda Looi journeyed to the same direction when she designed a dress made of polyamide.

The clothes were 3D printed. Materials such as TPU or polyamide were not conventionally used for 3D printing, but the latest 3D printing technologies are quite advanced. They can print using materials that were traditionally rejected.

Scanning the whole body

A 3D scanner can create replicas of actual objects. The more advanced the machine, the better is the quality of a replica. The existing 3D scanners have plenty of limitations, but the ones that’ll show up in the future will have fewer limitations.

One such machine has already been manufactured. It scans a person’s whole body in less than fifteen seconds. The manufacturing company is called Artec. The scanner is very expensive. It costs $99000, which rules out home users from the list of potential buyers.

More research done in this area can design the blueprint for more sophisticated machines, which will scan the tissues and the skeleton too. Such machines will find their usage in several industries such as healthcare, garments, body-building, etc.

Carbon fiber printing

The oncoming developments in 3D will make the hitherto non-printable materials printable.

In fact, the process has already started.

Carbon fiber is a building material that receives a lot of upvotes from the manufacturers. It’s light, and yet it is strong. The material, however, is not at all suitable for 3D printing because the layers of a 3D printed carbon-fiber object don’t stick to each other.

A company called MarkForged has introduced Mark One printer that works on the layers of the carbon-fiber filaments. The printer has already received the ACE award. It makes the material resilient enough to replace metal. The cost of the machine, however, is pretty high. But that’s one of today’s problems, not tomorrow’s. Tomorrow, its cost will go down, making it realistic for home-users to buy it.

Mini printers

The candlestick phone gave way to the rotary dial model, which gave way to the cordless model, which ended up as mobile phones. On today’s date, we have Smartphones, which we carry in our pockets and which are all set to throw challenges to a desktop computer that the latter will find difficult to handle.

The day is not far when 3D printers will shove themselves into our pockets. The process has already begun. The Micro 3D printer from M3D looks like a toy, but it’s anything but a toy. It can 3D print objects having 4.5-inches length, breadth and height.

Business opportunities

All these fancy innovations will show businesses new avenues to bag cash. 3D printing is already assisting several industries in their growth; that’s the chief reason it is so endorsed. The innovations discussed here will help 3D printing continue playing this role.

Read more: 6 Best Apps To Master 3D Printing With Your Smartphone