What Happens when Printing Technology is Taken to a Next Level?

The printing press was obviously an outstanding innovation that revolutionized not only isolated domains, such as literature or journalism, but it also had a major impact on the entire course of society evolution. Given its effects and its adaptability to new technological requirements, what can the future foretell for this incredible invention?

Not that long ago, in the 1980s’, an American called Chuck Hull that used to work at a ultraviolet lamp producing company had the inspiration to bring the first 3D printing machine to the world. You could only imagine the fuss it produced in the technological environment.

Adding a “D” to a 2D device has always been seen more than revolutionary, a true Science Fiction event. But the first 3D printer wasn’t that cheap, having a price settled on a few hundreds of thousands of dollars and it wasn’t that light either, being too heavy to be moved around. The inventor actually had to make short films about the things this new printer could achieve in order to prove its performance.

Even though it is a printer, the 3D printing device doesn’t really work on the same principals as the traditional one (that identifies a code and then prints it on paper using ink or laser). This piece of equipment “prints” three-dimensional objects by laying layer after layer of a certain material, reproducing a precise form. Given its ingenuity, the 3D printer was a terrific success in medicine, for biological printing.

In this sense, the material used is of organic source and the adhesive that links the layers is thermoplastic. In 2013, the 3D printing technology was actually used on a patient that suffered severe head damage and had to have a great part of its skull removed. In order to cover the missing part, the 3D printer shaped the missing element from a material that was designed to generate an increase of the human tissue. If this amazing event took place, imagine what wonders could a 3D printer do on issuing functional organs for those who are in need of an organ donation.

Besides medicine, the 3D technology was also experimented by Boeing in the manufacture of their aeronautic components. The company’s decision to depend on 3D production came from the fact that the process doesn’t require building a huge factory with thousands of employees, thus leading to fewer costs. Not only that Boeing produced smaller components for their airplanes, they also managed to manufacture an entire aircraft cabin only using a 3D printing device.

A less gratifying impact of these devices was felt on the weapons’ market, given the fact that 3D manufactured guns have lowered their price in recent years, with a cost that varies between 300 and 5000 dollars, depending on dimension. As buying a gun is no longer a financial issue, many countries have started to proclaim the illegality of producing your own 3D weapon, from means of security and social integrity.