3D Printing is Changing the World!
Among my 16-year old’s friend group, 3D printing is a hot topic. Several of his cohorts have their own printers (causing a suspiciously green cast to my son’s usually thick skin). They discuss types of printers and their uses with the same casualness that I discussed a Walkman at his age. I confess that I really didn’t know much about these three-dimensional wonders, other than what I learned on an episode of the Big Bang Theory. I decided to dig a little deeper and discovered that 3D printing is changing the world. How’s that for a headline?!?
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is a process used to make three dimensional objects by fusing melted layers from the ground up. The process includes designing the part to be printed, slicing the file into parts using available programs like TinkerCAD or 3D Slash, printing the actual object using a variety of materials and giving it a finishing touch.
When was 3D printing invented?
3D printing is not as new as you may think. In fact, it’s been around since 1984 when Charles Hull invented stereolithography. It didn’t make it into the mainstream until all the patent laws expired and people began to understand more about it. As more people gained access to technology (via the internet), interest grew. Now, 3D printers are available to anyone – just check out Amazon!
Which 3D printer is best?
The short answer is- it depends on what you want! Models vary based on cost, functionality, quality and materials. Decide what you want to print, what materials you want to use, the size of your item, color specifications, open or closed frame models, etc. Once you check your boxes, you can begin to search for the one that works for you.
What kind of materials can be used for printing?
There are a lot of options, but the most common ones are plastic. They are easy to melt, and spools don’t cost much. There are different types of plastic like PETG (polyethylene terephthalate), which is similar to the plastic used in soda bottles, and PLA (polylactic acid), which generally comes from renewable resources like corn starch and sugar beet pulp. That makes PLA more biodegradable and environmentally friendly, but neither one is edible!
What can you make with a 3D printer?
The possibilities are endless. People have already used 3D printing to make acoustic guitars, medical models, sculptures, camera lenses, clocks, phone cases and more. My personal favorite is jewelry- talk about a conversation piece!
How will 3D printing play a role in the future?
The impact of 3D printing for both commercial and home use is staggering. Much like the internet moved from obscurity to complete necessity in our lives, 3D printing is poised to lead us into the future. Current trends are already hinting at what is to come. It will influence art, fashion, medicine, manufacturing, architecture, education, the automotive industry, aerospace engineering and construction in ways we can’t yet imagine.
Will 3D printing be featured during Journey into STEAM?
Teens and tweens like my son are preparing for careers in a unique time. Many of the jobs that will be available to them have yet to be created! Technology (like 3D printing) continues to unfold and shape the workplace. This is exactly why Journey into STEAM was developed.
Journey is an exclusive event for middle and high school students, power packed with opportunities to learn, explore and get hands-on with STEAM. The STEAM fair will take place on a soundstage in the heart of Universal Orlando Resort™. It will allow students to speak directly to the experts, participate in hands-on activities and discover future career opportunities in emerging industries.
The brilliant minds behind DeltaMaker 3D printing will be one of the companies participating. They’ll answer questions, share the latest models and discuss the future of 3D printing for both personal and professional use. It’s a unique opportunity for career exploration and a great way to demonstrate how 3D printing is changing the world. My son will be there – and he’ll be the envy of his friends!
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