The first 3D printer was created in 1983 by Chuck Hull and it was considered as a tool for recreational activities rather than its potential for industrial use. However, the technology kept evolving slowly and the media kept highlighting its achievements over the years. Earlier, 3D printers were only seen as a rapid prototyping tool and only certain industries used to refer to them in the times of product development related needs. In the past decade, 3D printers have gained popularity and they are now used for both personal and commercial purposes. A 3D printer uses additive technology to add layers upon layers of the material to create an object. However, the device either needs a 3D image with specific dimensions of the object or it has to scan the object itself to determine its shape, complexity, and measurements.
The 3D printing technology is now being used aggressively in many industries for rapid prototyping and manufacturing specific products such as on-demand products and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) products. The 3D printing technology is being used in a variety of industries such as aerospace, defense, construction, fashion, and energy. The global 3D printing market in defense, aerospace, and construction is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15-25 percent whereas the 3D printing market is growing at a CAGR of 25-35 percent in fashion and energy. The key driver for such growth is the customization ability of the 3D printing technology. Click here to know more.
3D Printing Market over the Past 5 Years:
The 3D printing market is yet to reach its true potential as this is projected to be the technology of the future. The 3D printing technology offers immense customization to any type of project. Currently, the only limitations to 3D printing are the size of the object, slow printing speed, and low market maturity. However, enterprises are working in a similar direction so that they can incorporate 3D printing in their core production processes but it will still take at least 10-15 years to attain mass implementation of this technology. The market is showing positive signs as the cost of 3D printing is going down due to global digitization and awareness about 3D animation, and design.
In terms of materials and technology, devices are now using soft metals and other types of polymers, contrary to the previously used plastic, and high-end devices also come with in-built scanners that eliminate the need for inserting a 3D image or CAD file. The time is not far where anyone can print objects of their choice in their homes. As the technology will evolve, the future generations may see more 3D printing applications such as 3D printed aircraft, defense equipment, firearms, cars, and the possibilities are endless.
The concept of 3D printing has become quite popular and more and more people are getting to know about it. Even if everyone is not able to use 3D printing at present, then at least they can now imagine what it is capable of. The cost of 3D printing, which used to be in thousands of dollars, has come down to hundreds and even lower than that for bigger projects. This gives a glimpse of the innovations that are going to evolve the technology in the near future.