Three of the Most Exciting 3D Developments Due in 2016

May 2, 2016 8:52 am0 commentsViews: 184

3D printing burst onto the scene a couple of years ago, fascinating everyone with the possibilities that it threw up.

But now, in 2016, people are starting to wonder: what next for the industry? Some people are starting to take the view that 3D printing is seemingly only good for printing little trinkets, and showing off how clever it is.

However, could 2016 be the year 3D printing proves itself as a crucial manufacturing method, not of the future, but of the present day?

Here are a couple of reasons for optimism:

Faster printers

We’ve all heard stories of being able to 3D print cars and even houses in the future, but once you realise that even the smallest of objects take multiple hours to make, it kind of takes the shine off a little bit.

Thankfully though, 3D printers are getting a lot quicker, with a breakthrough new process called Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) claiming to speed up the process by between 25 and 100 times.

Exciting 3D Developments

As we see the process become quicker and quicker, it is more likely to be taken up by more companies and industries, which can only be a good thing!

We spoke to rapid prototyping firm Prototype Projects who told us: “The biggest barrier to 3D printing being seen in the home is that it just takes too long.”

“Making the process run faster and smoother should be one of the industries main goals going forward in 2016 and beyond.”

Speed is one of the most important things that 3D printing needs to get right in future, if it’s to live up to the expectations that everyone had back when it first emerged, and it looks like things are certainly going in the right direction.

Multicolour Printers

Another current drawback of 3D printing is that we can usually only print objects in one colour.

This either means having to separately print multiple components or be stuck with a pretty bland looking object.

This is another one of the major things that is holding 3D printing back from making its way into the mainstream.

Various solutions are in the works including a little box called the Palette, which is running on Kickstarter.

Adding multiple colours to 3D printing would be a real step forward, as we’re quite limited as to what we can create at the moment.

And while its still in the realm of speculation at the moment, 2016 could be the year that we see Apple jump into the world of 3D printing, with a patent application suggesting that they may be looking into developing a multicolour 3D printer.

The ‘Golf Ball Rule’

Businesses are starting to apply a principle known as the ‘golf ball rule’, which states that all 3D printed products should be unique, high value and able to fit inside a golf ball.

The term was coined by the firm Materialise, who believe that as the technology improves, the ‘ball’ will become bigger and bigger (for example a ‘tennis ball rule’) and more and more products will be able to manufactured.

This means we should see a boom in the smaller, higher value products, such as jewellery, dental implants, and headphones.

Focusing on these smaller kinds of objects is a wise move and could be a lucrative business route.

3D printing could be at something of a crossroads. While the technology is certainly innovative, it needs to become more efficient, and show that it can be used in a way relevant to everyday consumers.

However, with more businesses looking to adopt the technology in exciting ways in 2016, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic!


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