Will 3 D Printing Change The Landscape Of Manufacturing?

2242 words - 9 pages

Introduction:
In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg completed the very first printing press, and since then, the contraption has significantly evolved (Crompton). With the recent uprising of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (the process of turning a 3D model into a real object), and the inexhaustible imagination of the human being a key question emerged: Will this procedure change the landscape of manufacturing? Just like the agricultural world advanced with the introduction of machinery it is clear that such an extraordinary process will greatly improve our lives and change forever the world we live in. Yet to what extent? Some believe that three dimensional printers will only be helpful and useful for innovative industries while others seem to be persuaded that it will soon become a "must have" object in everyone's home. It is clear that there already is numerous competitive and rather affordable desktop engines being able to create real objects from digital models but although their popularity has vastly increased they still are considered as toys for computer craftsmen. On the other hand, such a simple concept has lead into mind-blowing creations in several businesses including medicine with the printing of organs, prosthetic limbs and custom made implants. Of course, society's gourmet also had to seize the opportunities this technology could offer by making sugar and chocolate printers for kitchens, more sophisticated meal printers for space expeditions and oddly enough, printable meat. Such a rapid push in manufacturing has lead into various ethical complications and even so, the most alarming innovation is definitely the newly modeled printable guns. Being as obtainable as any information on the Internet they sure do question our modern day's security. So, despite the skeptical point of views of many, remarkable creations are already being made each slowly ameliorating mankind but can such a basic machine really have an impact this important on mankind?

What is 3D Printing?
Ancestors
Under the reign of the T'ang dynasty, China develops woodblock printing, a technique using carved blocks and ink to rapidly reproduce words and patterns by stamping. This lead to the very first full length "printed" book called the Diamond Sutra (Printing History Timeline). Though, the very first movable clay type printer was only assembled in 1401. It was then improved by Johannes Gutenberg who created the printing press with removable metal/wood letters for the mass production of books including the popular "Gutenberg's Bible" (Bellis). Throughout centuries, typesetters were constantly upgraded until a company called "Xerox" created in 1955 the very first automatic digital printer that was then replicated by various famous brands including "Epson" and "Canon". The next innovation was brought by HP 30 years later with the construction of the "laser printer", a machine we frequently use in our modern day lives. An improvement was hardly...

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