3D Printing Revolutionizing Variety of Industries

By: Marie McCarthy

If you Google “3D printing”, a slew of news articles will appear with the latest headlines announcing which gadgets have been created using this revolutionary new technology. 3D printing allows novice users, designers, and engineers to prototype, design and build their ideas directly.

From dental aligners to entire houses, many industries are cutting out the middle man and creating real products from 3D printers.

Vancouver based Casca makes shoes, and they’re developing technology that can print customized insoles on the spot. Currently, the brand asks customers to use their phone app to scan their foot. The app analyzes 20,000 data points and converts that information into a perfectly fitted insole. Someday, their CEO hopes to have a brick and mortar store that will be a one stop shop where users can have their foot scanned and the shoe printed instantly. Right now, it takes 4 hours to print.

In Denmark, one company wants to be a zero-waste fashion house by relying on 3D printing technology. Their goal is to print parkas upon each order, so they keep no inventory and have no waste, either.

3D printing also has incredible application potential in the healthcare sector. It is being tested to print organs, medical parts, and even dental ware. Scans from someone’s mouth can be used to formulate a retainer that can re-align and straighten their teeth.

Whatever the application, today’s engineers need to have a grasp and understanding of 3D printing as it becomes more prevalent and useful in society. With their technical perspective, engineers will be able to best manipulate and mold the future of the tool.

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