The recent hype over 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, shoudln’t fool you into thinking it’s new.
This process – which consists of printing layer upon layer of a material, usually plastic, to make an object out of a 3D digital drawing – has been around since the eighties.
“The technology is quite mature,” Mitch Free, CEO of industrial 3D printing company CloudDDM, told the Daily News. “Good marketing has brought it to the public awareness.”
Free said the reason 3D printers aren’t commonplace is much of the technology had been road-blocked by patents up until a few years ago.
While there have been recent innovations in medicine and design, Free said it will be a while before people are driving 3D-printed cars or replacing store-bought products with ones printed at home.
“It’s not a technology barrier, it’s just that the economics don’t work,” he said. “It takes too long and it’s too expensive.”
Perhaps 3D printing hasn’t sparked a revolution, but Free said there’ve been “new and exciting” developments in the materials printers use and the way the printed objects can be applied.
So, here are five fields that a reaping the benefits of this technology.
3D Printed Heart Aids Surgery
Practice makes perfect.
Earlier this year, surgeons at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami used a 3D printer to make an exact replica of a five-year-old girl’s heart.
Mia Gonzalez underwent surgery to correct a malformation in her aorta and doctors attributed part of the operation’s success to being able to practice on the heart model.
“Without the model, I would have been less certain about (operating on Mia) and that would have led me naturally to make a larger incision that could possibly cause more pain and a longer recovery time,” Dr. Redmond Burke told CNN.
Advances have also been made in bioprinting, which uses a so-called ink made of cells and human tissue.
A Sept. 2015 survey of 800 communication and tech experts found 76% believe the first transplant of a 3D-printed liver would happen by 2025.
If cities follow Chinese company WinSun’s lead, 3D printers could be used to build low-income housing fast and inexpensively.
Last year, the engineering and design company built 10 3D-printed concrete houses in one day. Each cost $4,800.
Then in January, the company took 3D printing technology to new heights by building a five-story apartment building and a 1,100 square meter villa.
The structures were made by printing large sections of the building and then assembling them. The “ink” used was made from fiberglass, streel, cement, binder and recycled rubble, according to a WinSun release.
The company plans to open 3D printer plants in 20 countries within the next few years, The Guardian reported.
Architects are also turning to 3D printing to make their elaborate design dreams a reality.
“I think (3D printing)is as fundamental a shift as the elevator was in raising our cities,” Adam Kushner, president of D-Shape Enterprises, told The Guardian.
Free’s company, which opened in May, prints pieces used in everything from voting machines to planes.
He said 3D printing has been a game-changer for companies that had products in mind but couldn’t sell enough of them to justify industrial scale manufacturing.
“We’ve opened up a whole sector for low volume products that weren’t viable,” he said.
For example, medical devices that would have cost too much to produce en masse can now be printed out. Researchers can try out, say, surgical instruments without the burden of high costs.
Same goes for companies that want to test out prototypes. They can print out two or three samples and collect user data before committing to a specific design, Free said.
5. The environment
Coral reefs are key to a burgeoning marine life. But, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 70% of the world’s coral reefs have been damaged or destroyed by development and pollution.
A company in Bahrain is countering that destruction by installing 3D-printed reefs along the coasts of the Persian Gulf.
Luis Borda MD, world-famous Neurosurgeon, presents in Russia October 14, 2016
Dr. Marcelo Fereira, Neurosurgeon from Brazil, presents at Tyumen Russia last week at Albert Sufianov's Conference, "Skull Base Surgery"Oct 2016 Broadcast LIVE by www.Neurosurgical .TV: Dr. Wuttipong Tirakotai: Surgical Treatment of Trigeminal Schwannomas "
Dr. Marcelo Fereira, Neurosurgeon from Brazil, presents at Tyumen Russia last week at Albert Sufianov's Conference, "Skull Base Surgery"
August 28: India Online Conference: Ped Neurosurg: Subodh Raju, MD "Surgical Options in Craniosynostosis"
July 22: John Giannios MD, Precision Medicine Leader, talks about "Precision Epigenomic Medicine of Incurable Solid Tumors "
July 20: John Giannios MD, Precision Medicine Leader, talks about "Precision Cancer Medicine in the Postgenomics Era"
July 19: John Giannios MD, talks about "NANOSURGERY FOR ERADICATION OF METASTATIC CANCER STEM CELLS "
July 20: Joe Krainin MD, Neurologist, Sleep Apnea expert, talk to A Fib expert, Steve Ryan Phd, meet and discuss AFib and Sleep Apnea
July 9: Iype Cherian MD, Neurosurgery Superstar, presents "Basilar Artery Dissection, for the ACNS Online Conference
July 9: Roberto Herrera MD: Presenting Case in Online Neurosurgery Conference, a New Wave of Conferences
July 9 Ramesh Nair MD, English Neurosurgeon, Presents a Few Skull Base Cases
May 3: John Byler, noted TBI Support Advocate, talks about his book, "You Look Great"
April 20: Catherina Borgenstierna of Sweden Presents her Robotic Assisted Eating Device, Bestic