Join us in celebrating 3D Printing Day! On December 3rd, additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, is being celebrated worldwide. The technology has been a giant boost to multiple industries like; automotives, education, health, food, product manufacturing and many more. National 3D Printing Day strives to raise awareness, promote education, and celebrate the positive economic impact and opportunities additive manufacturing brings.
After more than 30 years since the invention of the first 3D printer, the possibilities have been endless. The evolution of additive manufacturing has grown in leaps and bounds. It has done everything from reducing costs, to increasing efficiency, to spurring innovation and helping the manufacturing industry evolve. Make48 has been a huge proponent of 3D printing. Working with companies such as MatterHackers and Ultimaker has taught us so much about these revolutionary machines.
MatterHackers was founded by people with a serious passion for technology that helps you make things. With this deep-rooted dedication, they wanted to make the process of digital fabrication more accessible, giving educators, engineers, manufacturers, small businesses and tinkerers the power to make anything. They offer the largest variety of industry-leading 3D printers, DIY laser cutters, CNC mills, accessories, and materials - all of which have been tested and approved by their in-house experts.
At each Make48 event, MatterHackers sends Joel Gordon (Senior Solutions Specialist at MatterHackers) to help the teams bring their ideas to life using additive manufacturing tools. In his early career, Joel worked in theater, television and film where he was a practical props maker. “Practical props are ones that serve a practical purpose on set, beyond the plot or characters. For instance, a 1930's era radio that actually broadcasts. 3D printers gave me a tool that could do things that no other tool was capable of. It could replicate items that didn't exist outside of someone's imagination.”
3D printing began to emerge in the 1980’s. Chuck Hall developed stereolithography in 1984, the first method of 3d printing that utilized a laser and resin. Since then, 3D printing has grown leaps and bounds. With a surge of innovative ideas and new possibilities, 3D printing has revolutionized a plethora of industries. As a kid of the Star Trek age, Joel compared seeing his first 3D printer like seeing a real-life Star Trek Replicator. “In film you are always on a difficult timeline. So, having access to a machine that could interpret and fabricate my designs while I worked on other pressing matters was a miracle! From the first time I saw a 3D printer, I knew I would always be working with them.” It’s hard to deny the significance that 3D printing has played in our world today.
Whether you’re an engineer, a maker or hobbyist, there are many reasons to celebrate 3D printing and the infinite possibilities that come with it. I posed the question to Joel on why we should celebrate this day? “Nevermind the improvements I've seen in 3D printing in the last 3 decades. In the last 3 years, I've seen things that amaze me! If two years ago someone had said to me, "You can print metal on your 3D printer at home." I would have said they were crazy. Two years later, here I am printing metal routinely, on my desktop machines. We have seen medical breakthroughs that are only possible, with 3D printers. The AeroSpace Industry is reliant on 3D printing for much of its work. These are all reasons to celebrate Additive Manufacturing, but there is another reason that we should all be excited about.”
Joel continued, “Covid 19 shook the world into awareness. We experienced a global health crisis, but it didn't end there. Now, we are seeing a shortage of goods, a supply chain interruption that has drastically affected our economy. 3D printing is quickly filling the gap in manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is encouraging innovation in industry. All products today begin as digital files created through Computer Aided Design, or CAD. Imagine a world, where goods are created at the point of purchase. Imagine, instead of wasting resources and energy shipping products globally, we ship data. That data is sent to a series of machines that make a product at the point of need. No need for giant polluting factories, no need for giant energy consuming storage facilities. This is the promise of Micro and Distributed Manufacturing and 3D printing is at the heart of this greener future.”
What’s your favorite project to create using a 3D printer? Leave a comment below!