3D Printing Innovations -3D Printer in action and 3d printed lattice sphere

3D Printing – The time is now

The world of manufacturing is undergoing a never-before-seen revolution in product development and production processes.

The time is now

Increasing fragmentation and demand for personalisation are leading manufacturers to seek inexpensive and speedy development, right from the prototyping stage. Allowing plastic injection moulding businesses and similar businesses to fulfil the true needs of their customers’ needs and wants.

With the 3D Printing 2018 Additive Manufacturing Technology Exhibition just around the corner, it’s time to catch up on the latest and greatest innovations in 3D printing helping businesses fulfil. This year Tokyo is holding the 3D Printing 2018 Additive Manufacturing Technology Exhibition in Tokyo, 14th to the 16th of February.

At the expo

The organiser is JTB Communication Design, Inc. and is expecting a turnout of over 50,000 people. Held in the east Hall 6, Tokyo Big Sight, Japan. This event is definitely one not to be missed. Vendors include nano tech, 3Decotech, ENEX, neo functional material 2018 and much more! Wavelock Advanced Technology – Metallic Decorative Film will also be at the exhibition demonstrating their Metallic Decorative Film which is well formable plastic film which has radio transmittance function, composing of PMMA, Metalized PET and ABS etc. Its aspect has the ability to become various by adding colour pigment into adhesive layer, and also can let the light pass through by using translucent raw material.

At the “3Decotech Expo”, the exhibition for manufacturing visual, material, and tactile surface coatings, exhibitors will be demonstrating research and products utilising advanced film and plating surface technology. “3D Printing” focuses on additive manufacturing and 3D printing solutions, ranging from real-world use cases of existing tech (such as moulds and dies) to all-new development processes, products, and technologies.

That’s enough about the exhibition and its awesome opportunities for now, let’s take a look at the history of this innovative technology and the way it is improving lives.

The history

It all started in 1981 with a fellow named Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute. He published his account of a functional rapid prototyping system using photopolymers. A solid, printed model was built up in layers, each of which corresponded to a cross-sectional slice in the model. Three years later, in 1984, Charles Hull broke new ground by inventing stereolithography. This lets designers create 3D models using digital data, which can then be used to create a tangible object.

By 1999, 3D printing started to improve lives with the first 3D-printed organ was implanted in humans. Scientists at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine printed synthetic scaffolds of a human bladder and then coated them with the cells of human patients. The newly generated tissue was then implanted into the patients, with little to no chance that their immune systems would reject them, as they were made of their own cells.

This was also the decade where 3D printing met the open-source movement. In 2005, Dr. Adrian Bowyer’s RepRap Project launched an open-source initiative to create a 3D printer that could basically build itself—or at least print most of its own parts (#supercool). Its 2008 release, Darwin, is a self-replicating printer that’s able to do just that.

The innovations that have been made over the past 30 years have truly been revolutionary. From what seemed like the ultimate dream has become a reality and this, is just the beginning.

Where 3D stands today

Whilst the price of 3D printers has fallen rapidly and the accuracy of 3D printing has improved, innovators are pushing the envelope in ways that Charles Hull could only dream of. Designers are no longer limited to printing with plastic. Case in point: You can now print the engagement ring of your dreams using gold or silver which is truly incredible. Engineers at the University of Southampton have flown the world’s ­first 3D-printed unmanned aircraft, and KOR Ecologic prototyped Urbee, a car with a 3D-printed body that’s built to get 200 mpg on the freeway.

All of this leading to the present day…Although by the time this article is published, there surely will have been countless other additive manufacturing breakthroughs happening somewhere in the world. It’s almost impossible to keep up. In the future, our kids will build art projects with their classroom’s 3D printer, and our dentist will be able to call in a prescription for a custom-printed set of dentures.

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