3D Printing sounds like a futuristic technology that has recently been invented, but you would be surprised to know that the first 3D printers started appearing in the mid 1980’s and gained recognition about five years later. Now, with more knowledge, better technology, and with the digital revolution in full swing, 3D printers are suddenly in demand as individuals and companies start clamouring for this device. Why is there a demand for it and what kind of influence will these printers have on our day-to-day lives? In order to print an object you will need a 3D digital model, which you can draw yourself using any of the 3D software packages available, or by downloading appropriate images from the web.


You can print almost anything within reason and within the right parameters. You need an ice block maker to put in the freezer? No problem. Want a soap holder, cell phone cover, juicer, piggybank or a range of tools, print it yourself. Get the right images, make sure your printer is filled with the correct materials and push print. You now get to enjoy your new home-made printer’s tray, shower head or musical instrument. 3D printers can print in over one-hundred different materials and the possibilities with this new technology are limitless. Whether it’s a new prosthetic limb to change someone’s life or a plastic home accessory, you can print it at home and use it almost immediately.

While the 3D printer may have been invented a long time ago, it is only in recent years that it has started to come into its own, with prices dropping and uses increasing at the same rate. With most households owning at least one pc or laptop, anyone can print the coolest stuff at their home, and the business potential for everyone has become huge. Expect everyone to have a 3D printer in the not too distant future. The question is, who will capitalise first?

Who uses 3D printers?

Many companies of all sizes are starting to see the advantages of owning a 3D printer. These companies include some of the world’s most famous brands, like Coca-Cola, Ebay and Nokia, who have all recognised the development and design potential of 3D printers as well as the creative marketing potential that it opens up.

The medical industry in particularly is using this advanced printing technology to produce replicas of patient’s body parts, allowing surgeons to see an accurate picture of what’s going on inside the patient’s body before surgery.


NASA also recently started experimenting with 3D printers, which could be an amazing method of producing specialised tools, which they could not otherwise manufacture at zero gravity in space. Now special emergencies will be more easily dealt with, as the space team can produce their own customised tools on the fly. Of course any printer that flies into space will have to be built to withstand the violent vibrations of launch and the different air pressures.

Advantages of 3D printers:

• Build your own custom tools quickly and easily
• 3D Printed products are strong and lighter
• Eco-friendly solution to building a wide range of objects
• Impress your clients
• 3D printers will soon be affordable to the average household, meaning you can build your own 3D objects at home without using a professional printer.

The future looks bright with 3D printers, from artists and engineers, to surgeons and car designers; printing has never looked more fun or more useful. If you are interested in owning a 3D printer contact your local printing specialists.