3D Printing: A Brave New World

President Obama highlighted 3D printing in his recent State of the Union speech for good reason. 3D printing is part of a new direction of high-tech industry that can bolster the American economy and will most likely revolutionize manufacturing and commerce. The technology is still in its infancy, but it is becoming more accessible and more affordable for both consumers and businesses.

The concept is fantastic, yet real. A digital model is designed using a CAD program. The design is then sent to a 3D printer. The printer actually constructs the object by stacking layer upon layer of material in the form of the design. This process is called “additive manufacturing,” as opposed to “subtractive manufacturing,” in which an object is cut from an unformed block of material.

Different 3D printers use different materials. Hard materials, like plastics and metal, have progressed to include softer production materials, such as rubber or polyurethane-like plastics. Many companies are vying to harness the skyrocketing technology, which allows users to quickly and cheaply produce three-dimensional objects straight from a computer. Architecture, automotive, defense, furniture, jewelry, and medical manufacturers are early participants in 3D printing. These industries use 3D printing to generate complete products or specialized parts, for cars and even the human body. The possibilities are nearly limitless. At Paris Fashion Week 2013, a runway show was dedicated solely to clothes created using 3D printing.

3D printing should revolutionize many industries and change the way we conceive traditional manufacturing. The projected industry value of 3D printing is expected to explode by 300% by 2020. It’s a brave new world and we like to keep our clients up to speed. CMA is one of the select Seattle marketing agencies that incorporate cutting-edge technology, in-house production, and traditional printing and branding services for better business marketing. Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest marketing technology.

How does 3D printing work? Here is an infographic from Mashable.