How 3D Printing Transform Industries?

How 3D Printing Transform Industries

In recent years, 3-Dimensional (3D) printing or 3D-P have emerged as a groundbreaking technology that has revolutionized design processes, prototyping, and manufacturing across different industries. Also known as additive manufacturing, this kind of printing allows for the creation of 3-dimensional objects by layering materials based on computer designs.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the world of 3-dimensional printing, its potential, as well as the transformative impact it has on various fields. The history of this type of printing can be traced back to the 80s. The development of the technology involved the contributions of several organizations and individuals. Here is a brief overview of the history of three-dimensional printing.

The invention of SLA or Stereolithography

In 1983, an American engineer by the name of Charles Hull invented the first 3D-P technology known as stereolithography or SLA. Charles Hull co-founded 3D Systems Corporation, which commercialized this technology. STL uses a process where a laser selectively cures resin layer by layer, creating a sturdy, solid object.

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Development of SLS or Selective Laser Sintering

In the late 80s, a student of the University of Texas named Carl Deckard invented the new 3D-P technique called selective laser sintering. This method uses a high-powered laser to selectively combine and merge powdered materials together to form an object.

Growth of rapid prototyping

During the early 90s, 3D-P tech, including SLS and SLA, gained popularity, especially in the field of rapid prototyping. Designers and engineers started using this tech to create physical prototypes cost-effectively and quickly, allowing them to refine and iterate their designs.

Expanding applications

As this tech progressed, a lot of industries started adopting it for various applications. This included aerospace, automotive, architecture, consumer products, and healthcare. The ability to create complicated geometries and customize them made this technology important in these sectors.

Introduction of FDM or Fused Deposition Modeling

The company of Scott Crump developed the FDM or Fused Deposition Modeling technique in the late 80s. It involves the extrusion of thermoplastic materials through heated nozzles, which then solidify layer by layer to form objects. Fused Deposition Modeling became one of the most widely used 3D-P techs because of its affordability, as well as ease of use.

Open-Source Movement

In the early days of the 2000s, Dr. Adrian Bowyer initiated the RepRap project. It popularized the concept of open-source three-dimensional printing. This project focused on creating a self-replicating 3D-P device that could produce most of its own parts. The open-source approach contributed to the democratization of this technology, making it more accessible to people and small businesses.

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Advancements in materials

Advancements in materials

Over time, the types of materials compatible with this technology expanded significantly. Initially, thermoplastics were commonly used. But in today’s world, there are various material options readily available, including composites, ceramics, metals, and biological materials like living cells.

Large-Scale and Industrial Adoption printing

In recent years, this process has gained popularity in industrial manufacturing. This tech has been used for production-grade parts, architectural structures, and tooling. Large-scale 3D-Ps capable of printing objects of considerable size has been made, enabling the creation of full-scale prototypes as well as functional components.

Ongoing advancements

This technology continues to evolve rapidly. New printing methods like DLP or digital light processing, as well as binder jetting, have emerged. Furthermore, advancements in hardware, materials, and software are enabling higher precision, improved overall capabilities, and faster printing speeds.

The process behind 3D-P

At its core, this tech involves a sequential layering process that transforms a digital model into physical objects. The process usually consists of the following steps:


A three-dimensional digital model is designed using CAD or Computer-Aided Design software or made using three-dimensional scanning techniques.


This model is sliced into thin cross-sectional layers using specialized software, which guides the device in making the object layer by layer.


The device reads the sliced design file and deposits the material layer by layer. It uses methods like powder fusion, photopolymerization, and extrusion, to gradually form the physical product.


Once the product is printed, it may need additional post-processing steps, such as removing support structures, polishing, painting, or sanding to achieve the desired finish.


The adaptability and versatility of this tech have led to its widespread adoption in most sectors. Some of these applications include:

Manufacturing and prototyping

This tech allows for quick prototyping, enabling engineers and designers to refine and iterate their designs immediately. It has streamlined the development process by minimizing costs and shortening the lead time. Additionally, it is increasingly used in small-scale manufacturing for low-volume and producing customized parts.

Biotechnology and healthcare

This tech has revolutionized healthcare by enabling the production of prosthetics, anatomical models, and patient-specific implants for surgical planning. It has also facilitated advancements in the bioprinting industry, where living cells, as well as biomaterials, are combined to create organs and tissues for drug testing and transplantation.

Automotive and aerospace

This tech has found extensive applications in the automotive and aerospace industries. It allows for the production of complicated lightweight structures, spare parts, and customized components. This tech has significantly reduced costs, accelerated the manufacturing and prototyping processes, and improved fuel efficiency in the aerospace and automotive sectors.

Construction and architecture

This process is revolutionizing construction and architecture by enabling the creation of sustainable and intricate structures. Large-scale 3D-Ps can fabricate building parts like facades or walls using different materials, including composite or concrete materials. It offers faster construction times, greater design freedom, and reduced material waste.

Advantages and future potential

The rise of this technology brings some notable advantages:

Design freedom

This process allows for the creation of intricate details and complicated geometries that would be impossible or challenging with conventional manufacturing methods. Designers have a lot of freedom to explore innovative concepts, as well as create customizable products designed to individual needs.

Time efficiency and cost

This tech can significantly reduce lead times and production costs, especially for one-off prototypes or small production runs. It eliminates the need for expensive molds and tooling, and the digital nature of its process enables faster design optimization and iteration.