We’ve all heard that 3D printing is the future of product design, but where is this innovative technology going and what can we really do with it other than make brightly coloured plastic ornaments? I decided to check out the ‘3D: printing the future‘ exhibition at the Science Museum for all the answers and more!
The most fascinating application I came across there was 3D printed medicine. Lee Cronin has a great TED talk on this. The future of this application could be an online database of chemical ‘blueprints’ for molecules that can be printed using chemical inks to create custom physical medicines, perfectly created for a specific use. This way, bespoke medicines can be manufactured with minimal wastage and using all the right ingredients very quickly. Being involved in projects here at JPC that are at the forefront of technology in the healthcare industry, it’s easy to imagine how quickly these types of applications will take off and provide real benefits to the industry in the not so distant future.
3D printing in metal also is really booming at the moment with projects aiming to build parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion technology. It allows for methods that were impossible with conventional production techniques such as layered assembly, allowing very intricate designs to be produced. An example of this is using honeycomb structures in the construction of car parts, making them much lighter than before and stronger at the same time. Again, 3D printing can be used to improve quality, reduce waste and save money – everything that manufacturing companies need in order to deliver better products at a lower cost in a highly competitive world.
At JPC we’re chomping at the bit to see how these kinds of technologies are evolving, how we can get on board to bring engaging 3D experiences to our clients and how it can transform all of our lives in various ways. To discover the huge variety of applications 3D printing has to offer for yourselves, check out the exhibition at the Science Museum. It’s there for a while, closing on 7th February 2015, you won’t be disappointed!