At this point in time there are a myriad things happening in the tech sector that have the potential to completely alter our life. But few of them are as close to coming true as the 3D printing revolution. What started out as a small-scale method of additive manufacturing back in the 1980s has now blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry, with many more developments forecasted for the next decade or so. Unlike other niches in the tech sector, however, 3D printing today is still a far cry from its true potential. This means that now would be an excellent time to get in on the game, either for personal profit or simply because it’s fun to take part in something this big. With that in mind, here are some of the things you can do with 3D printing right now, along with ideas on how to benefit from this technology from a business standpoint:
- Introducing 3D printing in schools
Much like personal computers were seen as a fad just a short couple of decades ago, 3D printers are viewed somewhat skeptically by the general populace, who doesn’t as of yet know what to do with them. You can begin to change the tide by providing 3D printing services to schools and universities. Organize a contest between children and offer to print out the winning design so that people will be encouraged to unlock the potential of 3D printing by themselves.
- Offering 3D printing services to businesses
Of course, adults can learn all about 3D printing just as well, so our next idea revolves around providing corporate services to companies in need. Your ideal targest would be manufacturing businesses that want to create 3D prototypes of upcoming products. While some already have 3D printing capabilities, many will prefer to use third-parties to help them bring their vision to life. To do so, you’ll need to first fulfill the legal requirements for running a 3D printing business, which can differ greatly according to country and region, so make sure you confer with a seasoned attorney in order to find out what applies to you.
- Printing things that people want
Right now 3D printing is at the point where many of its most common applications focus on novelty and entertainment, which isn’t a bad thing at all. People enjoy having artifacts that they can hold and admire, which is why applications like Toyze, which prints customized characters from games, and the SmileClouds Maker, which produces 3D clouds in various shapes, have been successful in drawing up publicity. Anything handcrafted, whether it’s a toy or a piece of jewelry, can be created using 3D printing, which is why this avenue continues to be a profitable one for people with a creative bent.
- Printing things that people need
While not all 3D printing applications are sexy, some can have quite an impact on our daily lives. From body replacement parts such as prosthetic limbs and artificial organs to building a real life jet engine, 3D printing has shown a capacity to improve on existing designs, thereby supplying genuine value that is not limited to passing fads. And, with new technologies being developed at such a rapid pace, it’s not at all inconceivable that 3D printing might one day provide solutions to many of the engineering problems that we find ourselves confronted with.
- Exploring new avenues
Finally, perhaps the best thing about 3D printing is the fact that the technology’s best is yet to come. Currently, 3D printing for businesses is still in the age of mainframes and minicomputers, with many high-performance materials yet to be integrated successfully in the 3D printing process. Speed is also an issue, as are concerns about energy consumption. Investing now in avenues that can lead to massive improvements in the areas of printing speed and waste management means staking your claim in an ecosystem that’s set to revolutionize life as we know it.
As you can see, there’s plenty of unmarked territory just waiting to be explored in the field of 3D printing, Whichever route you end up choosing, you should be aware that simply dealing in this technology in our day and age is still largely pioneer work. The future of 3D printing is being written right now, and the lucky few who get to write it will stand to reap its rewards in the years to follow.