Current Trends in 3D PrintingResearch Paper

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While very much still in its nascent stages, 3D printing has created a whole new world of possibilities. These possibilities range from the hobbies to medical applications. However, there are still some known and very present risks when it comes to 3D printing. On the whole, however, 3D printing is almost certainly here to stay and the possibilities would seem to be endless over the long haul if the technology is harnessed and used properly. While something more superior will probably replace 3D printing as we know it right now, the current applications of existing 3D printing technology is seemingly endless and extremely beneficial on the whole with all things considered.

The first iteration and example of 3D printing can be otherwise referred to as stereolithographic solid imaging process. Per the work of Hull (2015) in a recent journal article, this is the first manifestation of commercial 3D printing technology. While 3D printing has developed within a lot of realms and applications, business is obviously one of the major realms that will perfect, use and otherwise develop the technology. Indeed, Mr. Hull also makes mention of a firm by the name of a company he works for, that being 3D Systems. Indeed, he serves as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of that firm. Hull lays bare that 3D printing is actually not that new when it comes to age. However, the pace of innovation and advancement when it comes to 3D printing has accelerated greatly over the last few months and years. Nowadays, 3D printers are being mass marketed and used for a variety of business and other applications. Just one example is the aerospace industry. Manufacturing is another sector. The goods manufactured by 3D printers can be made of a number of materials and substances including polymers, metals, ceramics, composites or even food ingredients. 3D printers can even be bought by the general public on shopping sites like Amazon (Hull, 2015).

As far as how all of that is possible, it is a complex combination of hardware and software. To be concise, a 3D print job or product is a three-dimensional computer-aided drafting (CAD) rendering or drawing being turned into a real and tangible product. Coming back to the business end of things, about thirty percent of all 3D-printed products are being used in commercial applications and in ways as mentioned through the examples mentioned by Hull earlier in this report, and that was as of 2012. Essentially, the software helps take in and manifest what is going to be built and then the printer executes what is rendered by the software. This does not mean that the product will be as perfect and complete as intended. Adjustments to the 3D/CAD rendering might be necessary. However, that is the basic premise of 3D printing (Cesak, 2014).

The current impact on business when it comes to 3D printing is a little mixed. While businesses are absolutely playing with and trying to harness the software/hardware combination, the results have been decidedly mixed. Of course, there is the cost of the initial system purchase and then it has to be translated into production-grade systems. Both small businesses and large businesses are trying their hand at the technology but business is just barely touching the edge of what will be possible in the not-so-distant future. Since business will obviously be the driving force of bringing 3D printing into the mainstream from an adoption and cost standpoint, it is only a matter of time until quality concerns are addressed and the costs are brought down. Even with the challenges that exist, the adoption of the technology is absolutely happening and the overall pace of things is very promising despite the challenges that have emerged (Conner, Manogharan & Meyers, 2015).

As for the general trends when it comes to 3D printing, they are many in number. One mentioned already is the general pattern of businesses making a big jump into 3D printing when it comes to interest and investment. However, traditional business applications and uses is are just some of the trends that are manifesting themselves. Indeed, another field that is heavily investing and looking into 3D printing is the healthcare industry. The interest and possibilities are so voluminous, that it is getting to the point where it is envisioned and planned that organs can be made from scratch at some point and that 3D printers in general will heavily be used when it comes to the healthcare sector, which… [END OF PREVIEW]

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