Technologies that just 30 to 40 years ago were reserved for state governments or large corporations have today become available to a wide range of users. This raises questions about the further development of technological advances and their impact on our daily lives. Just as smartphones have changed the way we think about communication, 3D printing has the potential to change the way we think about manufacturing and its accessibility.

Fast, faster, exponentially

We live in a world governed by technology, and technology is governed by the law of exponential growth. In 1965. Gordon Moore noted that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every 12 to 24 months, and speculated that this trend would continue for about a decade. Meanwhile, more than half a century later, the development of digital technologies continues to be geometric. Example? In 1993, when the first browser was created, there were 23 websites on the Internet. In 1995 there were already 10,000, while three years later there were several million. Today, it is difficult to give an exact number, as it changes constantly. Although today we can’t imagine life without the Internet and it is growing at a rapid pace, almost 20 years passed between the creation of the first network aimed at scientists and the beginning of the Internet as we know it. It was not until the creation of a user-friendly browser interface that the technology was opened up to mass acceptance. The same can happen with space printing. For many years, the barrier was the high cost and complicated operation of printers and software, but now 3D printers are becoming cheaper and more user-friendly without specialized training. Start-ups are also emerging that see this technology as their great opportunity for business success.

New opportunities

Aaron Kemmer, Jason Dunn, Mike Chen – these are the visionaries who founded Made in Space, the first space printing company. In 2014, they sent the first 3D printer to the international space station to solve the problem of replacing broken parts on the station. Until now, astronauts have had to either carry many spare components that may never be used (and are extremely expensive to launch), or wait months for a replacement to be shipped. Now all you have to do is send an email with the print file. However, this is not the end of the possibilities opened up by space printing in the space. Made in Space’s ambition is to make it possible in the future to create new space stations with the help of 3D printers, from raw materials obtained in space.

Industrial 3D printers are still an expensive piece of equipment, but it is possible to take advantage of their potential via the Internet. This is exactly how MakieLabs, founded in 2010, operated. By British designer Alice Taylor. The company sold dolls designed by its customers with only printers for prototypes, and made the final production using cloud-accessible printers from the pioneer of the technology, 3D Systems. A factory was not needed to launch manufacturing operations. 3D printing is additive manufacturing, as opposed to the previously known subtractive manufacturing, which involves the removal of excess, such as from some solid. The new production method saves raw material and, more importantly, democratizes the production method, making it accessible to almost everyone.

Perfect fit

Space printing technology is revolutionizing, among other things. medical industry. It allows the production of individual pieces of patient-fit implants and prostheses. 3D printers are useful not only in surgery, but also in orthodontics. Align Technology is printing clear plastic braces for teeth as an alternative to metal devices. Research is also underway to print organs for transplantation based on stem cells. Certainly, medicine in relation to 3D printing technology has not yet said its last word.

Print your car
Thanks to 3D printers, medicine is developing much faster.

print yourself a car

Space printing technology is developing rapidly. Thanks to it, we have the opportunity to receive many products much faster than we used to. It may not be long before standard factories are completely revolutionized. Who knows, in a while you’ll probably be able to use the magic “print yourself an auto” button.


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