What is 3D Printing?
So just what is this 3D printing thingy and how is it done? Well, it’s actually very similar to how we print ordinary documents but with a thicker medium than ink. Without getting too technical, you can also imagine laying down a line of bricks and then putting another layer on top of that… eventually building the shape you want. 3D printing can use different materials to produce everything from hard plastic for building use, to metals used in jewellery and mechanical parts – just about anything almost; even objects in candy can be made!
And I’m not the only one to predict that in the near future household 3D printers will be as common as kitchen appliances – you will be able to turn on your iPrinter, download “plans” for items from plates, vases, utensils, sporting/camping goods, toys (childrens’ and adult toys!), car parts, office accessories, decorative items… the list is endless… and print away to your heart’s content.
Below is a 3 minute video showing the process from design to print.
Edit 17th Sep 2010: …but even better than that is an article by the New York Times and a fun 4 minute video. Both can be accessed from my page here: 3D Printing Explained