EASYUNI Ultimate University Guide 2013 Issue 6 - Page 47

E XC L U S IVE F EAT U RE Need a part for your lawn mower? At present, you would need to get it from your repairman, who in turn orders it from a distributor, who got it shipped from a country where they are mass-produced in thousands. In the near future, which we might already be experiencing, you will simply 3D-print the part right at home from a CAD file you downloaded, and if you do not have the right printer you could just print it at your local 3D printer’s office. 3D printers use a variety of additive manufacturing technologies, but they all share one core thing: they create a threedimensional object by building it layer by layer until it is complete. It is much like printing in two dimensions on a sheet of paper, but with an added third dimension from a digital file. Applications of 3D printing include design visualisation, prototyping or computer-aided design (CAD), metal casting, architecture, education, healthcare and entertainment. Other applications would include reconstructing fossils in paleontology, replicating ancient and priceless artefacts in archaeology, reconstruction of bones and body parts in forensic pathology and reconstructing heavily damaged evidence acquired from crime scene investigations. A Huge and Fast-growing Market The first wave of consumer 3D printers have been in high demand, taking the market by storm as their potential to transform business and work as we know it is mind-blowing. It is almost certain that 3D publishing will usher in the next industrial revolution. Experts estimate that by 2025, at the pace the industry is moving, 10 percent of consumer products will be created using a 3D process. Although 3D printing is not poised to take over the world quite yet, it has gone beyond being an industrial prototyping and manufacturing process as the technology has