5. 3D Printing Is Going into Outer Space
One of the major challenges of space exploration is bringing along all the necessary supplies for astronauts to use, but NASA has devised an innovative solution: 3D printing. To aid in space exploration and research, NASA has been developing microgravity 3D printers that can function in outer space. It costs about $10,000 just to send one pound of material into space, but NASA hopes that 3D printing can cut costs by allowing items to be printed in space as astronauts need them. 3D printing could also be used alongside robots to create buildings and other structures on the surfaces of other planets before astronauts arrive.
6. 3D Printers Can Create Both Prototypes and Final Products
3D printing is an ideal technology for many industries, because it allows companies to quickly produce prototype devices based on conceptual models. Rather than mass produce these items, companies can 3D print just a few prototypes and then test them out. However, as the technology becomes more sophisticated, 3D printers are increasingly being used to create final products, from shoes and toys to jewelry and tools.
7. You Can Buy a Cheap 3D Printing Pen
For those who can’t afford a serious 3D printer, the 3Doodler Printing Pen offers a fun, cheap alternative. The pen creates 3D designs using a plastic polymer that cools almost instantly, allowing users to basically “draw” objects in the air out of plastic strands. The pen can change the color and thickness of the strands, creating different shapes and designs. The device can also make minor repairs to household objects, such as fixing the battery panel on a TV remote control. While the technology is still developing, the 3Doodler shows that 3D printing can be both fun and useful.
8. 3D Printing Is in the Movies You Watch
3D printing isn’t just for industry. Hollywood has also taken to the process as a cheap, easy way to produce props and costumes for use on set, changing the way movies are made. Many blockbuster films make use of 3D printing in tandem with CGI to create seamless viewing experiences. Big budget films like Iron Man, The Hobbit, Warcraft, Avatar and The Avengers have all made use of 3D printing. In Iron Man, for example, many parts of the hero’s costume were created using a combination of CGI and 3D printing. The process allows prop makers and costume designers to save time and create intricate items that would take much longer to produce by hand.