This week, New York hosts the 4th annual 3D Print show - bringing in key players from the industry to interact and introduce the public to the future of 3D printing in design, medicine, architecture, aerospace, and automobiles.
3D printing technology has existed for more than 30 years, but has only recently revolutionized the tech design sphere thanks to companies like Stratasys, MakerBot, and Mcor Technologies who have expanded to large scale manufacturing as well as lowered costs, bringing 3D printers inside the home. So, how is something like a donut printed? A 3D design is created from a computer file or scan, and using a powder, plastic, ceramic, or metal, the printer spits out a number of successive layers of material until the object is fully formed. Instead of focusing on the daunting prospect of 3D printed guns, there are many life-altering 3D printed objects introduced every month.
At the 2013 London Print Show, Fripp Design & Research unveiled their alternative to handcrafted prosthetics, which are incredibly lifelike and easily reproduced at a cheaper cost. NASA and XYZprinting invest in 3D printers to make food, such as Pizza and Chocolate, allowing for a 30-year shelf life. Design firm in-flexions introduced a living space that’s completely digitally printed, called the “printed habitat.” Meanwhile, there is an entire fashion show dedicated to 3D printed designs featuring artists such as Aaron Trocola, Andy O’Mara, Bradley Rothenberg, Dilek Sezen, Francis Bitonti, Heidi Lee, Helena Lukasova + Denisa Nova, Holy Faya, Liz Ciokajlo, Paul Redmond, and Rachel Nhan.
Companies like MakerBot and Shapeways are also changing the future of events with photo booths and interior design products. Makerbot, witnessing the rise in photo booths at events and retail stores, recently introduced a 3-D photo booth that creates a replica of participant’s heads. Meanwhile, Shapeways’ online marketplace allows users to upload images of products such as centerpieces, vases, and party favors to be 3D printed and mailed to them. As 3D printing becomes more advanced and efficient by reducing prototyping and manufacturing costs, imaginations run wild as we enter this golden age of 3D products.