With a new era comes evolving technology to target increasing problems, yet rarely would something as futuristic or innovative as 3D printing ever been thought to be a reality.  Leading Canadian researchers have established a technique using chemical compounds instead of ink to allow the printing of computer-generated files in 3D.

The idea is not a new one, and 3D printing exists throughout the manufacturing/commercial world, yet rarely has it been used for the applications currently being thought of. For instance, Nike has embraced the technology in creating prototypes to not only quicken the pace of production, but also to view a 3D animation.

These printers not only bring innovation, but also have multiple applications and can be utilized in various situations. Recently, Canadian hospitals have begun testing these printers’ abilities to produce joint replacements. With this new technology in place, the current metallic joint replacements would be reduced, giving patients another alternative. Within architecture, printing would allow models to be constructed from computerized blueprints, reducing the amount of steps required in planning.  Even in a historical context, workers from historical museums will have gained the capacity to recreate images from the past.  The potential these printers provide is beyond the simple paper and ink.

The process of 3D printing begins with the programming itself, where additional computer software is used to aid the connection between the printer and the computer. In the 3D world, computers will be provided with specific details on what to print. With time, the process will become quicker and quicker. The printing itself will use horizontal imaging, where layers will build up, until the image is completed, bringing it to life. Currently, companies such as Ponoko are offering printing services, where a file can be uploaded onto their site. Then, it will be printed and delivered. Services like these continue to grow opening up new sectors within the market.

In the past 3D printing was tedious, yet now, the potential has grown so that perhaps one day 3D printers will become a fundamental, and interesting part of educational institutions.

By: Kaushar Mahetaji


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