Monday, 9 December 2013

Printing: 3D

3D printers were first introduced in the 1980's, however it wasn't until the early 2010's that the printers became widely available commercially.
The 3D printer creates a three dimensional object, of virtually any shape, from a digital model. This is achieved using an additive process in which successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes, and is different to other processes such as machining, as this method uses techniques such as cutting and drilling.

These amazing contraptions have enabled objects from an average fork, to the extensive use of it in medicine. It has been used to visualize and manipulate internal organs, blood vessels or bones in advance of the actual operations. This is especially useful in lengthy, complex procedures and has been used to plan conjoined twin separations, pediatric heart surgeries, facial transplants and many more.

It can also be applied to medical conditions far less severe such as the creation of prosthetic's; this would enable the patient to have a leg or other limb to look identical to their remaining one.

It isn't only useful in hospitals, but can also be used in the every day home, and with recent developments, you can now print in multicolour, and if developments progress even faster, we may even be able to print out our own food, thus ending world hunger.

However, one of the downfalls of such a printer, is the astronomical price at which they come, making it very unlikely that average home owners with be able to purchase one and get their moneys worth.