This year the media has encroached on a hysteria of the new tech age. I don’t think we will all be 3D printing our clothes and wearing our occulus rifts about the place anytime soon, but 3D printing is changing the way we work as designers. Because of 3D printing, technology is no longer something that can only be seen on a screen, it is something that can be touched in the real, physical world. 3D printing is an emerging technology and there are so many things to print, from furniture to chocolate. We live in a physical world with physical things, and this makes 3D printing such an important advance in technology.
The Top 6 Ways 3D Printing is Changing the Creative Industry
1) Methods of Production Traditional manufacturing is known as a subtractive manufacturing process. This involves taking material away from an object to create a finished product. This causes a lot of waste. 3D printing is known as an additive manufacturing process, where an object is printed layer by layer from a CAD file. Now complex structures can be manufactured as a single object, this eliminates waste. This also eliminates the need for moulds and expensive prototypes that come from overseas and take months to arrive. We also now have access to rapid prototyping, allowing for more intuitive and developed designs to surround us. 2) Products for the Individual, not the Masses 3D printing enables mass customisation in manufacturing. This means we can tailor products to the individual’s needs. This is great because traditional manufacturing methods are expensive for any items that need to be customised. For example prosthetic limbs went from a cost of $50 000 to $50 in the emergence of 3D printing. 3) Minimises Pollution Through decentralised manufacturing, things we buy no longer have to come from across the globe, they can be distributed via files and made locally. This relieves the pressure of transport for the delivery of products, which minimises pollution. 4) A New Design Aesthetic Forms that would previously be impossible to reproduce due to physical restrictions are now made possible using 3D printing. This has opened us up to design sensibilities such as Biomimicry, Parametricism, and Generative Design. 5) Open Sources Open sourced products are products made available by the designers for the public to make and use themselves. This means that technology that goes into these products are available for anyone to access online. This allows individuals to innovate, and improve products for themselves. Open sourced products could be to make 3D printers, or 3D printers could be used to make them. 6) The Maker Movement The Maker Movement is a reaction against consumerist mass production. It embraces the value of creating things yourself and understanding how things are made. It enables democratisation of invention. Easily accessed 3D print technology allows makers to create things that would have been previously impossible.