3D printing has existed for quite sometime now. However it has recently become a popular topic due to its arrival onto our high streets and soon, into our homes! 3D printing is a process which forms physical objects as opposed to pieces of paper, usually by laying down thin layers of material. Asda is now one of the first UK supermarket stores to make use of this technology, offering people the opportunity to have miniature versions of themselves and family produced. It is even possible that patients who have suffered aesthetic damage to their faces through accidents may have the opportunity to have their faces re-constructed using the technology. And it has already been used to NASA has even been developing a robotic 3D printing and assembly system that could build structures in orbit! (see the gallery for images) So the possibilities seem to be endless!
However, the increased availability of this technology caused by a progression in the technology and a reduction in price has already caused its first problem. The production of guns in our homes. The first 3d printed gun was produced and tested in the U.S this year and most recently a police raid on the homes of gangs in the UK this year, led to the finding of a 3d printer and possibly a 3d printed gun.
The 3d printing technology is here! It offers us many possibilities as marketers, as artists, as doctors, engineers and to many others. But with its ever increasing availability one question we should be is how much of a threat does it pose?
View the images below to see some of the many interesting uses of the technology.