Last week V3 reported on the announcement from high street retailer Maplin that it is to start offering a 3D printer for just £700 to eager punters keen to try out this rapidly growing area of technology.
The chance to see the device in action at the event was also riveting and the demonstration left us convinced the technology is set to play a huge role in the future development of many industries.
We’ve put together a list of some areas of business where we think 3D printing could make a huge impact. If you think we’ve missed anything off, or have any thoughts, let us know in the comments box below.
You can make some truly beautiful objects with 3D printers, none more so than delicious food. Among the advocates for printed food are Nasa, who are very interested in getting a pizza the action. But for them it's more than a passion for pepperoni, it's a serious logistical problem. It's easy to imagine astronauts embarking on long-term travels to Mars or other far-flung planets, and the ultra-compact nature of the ‘ink' could make a perfect solution to the problem of how to feed them for the duration of their very long trip. Nasa has given a $125,000 grant to a 3D printing firm to solve the issue, so printed space pizza might become a reality. Nasa has yet to comment on the difficulty of printing pineapples.
9. Personalised gifts
One thing that 3D printing is set to revolutionise is the gifting industry. It's not uncommon that we often find ourselves dashing around the high street looking for gifts for a friend's birthday or other equally celebratory event. And more often than not, the hardest thing to come across is something original or unique.
This is where gizmos like a 3D printing pen comes into play. First seen as a prototype on Kickstarter, 3Doodler allows you to draw 3D objects in the air with a pen. The pen extrudes heated ABS plastic that quickly cools and solidifies into a stable structure in the air or on surfaces and requires no software or computers.
Manufactured by Wobbleworks, the pen works on almost any surface, including plastic, allowing users to personalise items such as iPhone cases, 3D sculptures and other personalised gifts.
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