Your clothes are a total mess. The hanging rod in your wardrobe has just broken and there is nowhere to put your clothes… You have to call a carpenter or to go to a store and start measuring, waiting for deliveries if they don’t have it on stock… Probably, you’re in a hurry… Wait, you can download a design of the rod, enter the needed dimensions and print it.
This story is not a part of a sci-fi book. It is real and it’s developing more rapidly than you can imagine. It’s called 3D printing and it’s part of the so called AM (Additive Manufacturing) - you make an object as you add material to it layer by layer. The technology was used for building fast and precise prototypes when it started. Now it’s applied in a large spectrum of industries - from children’s toys through medicine to aerospace manufacturing. Money generated in 3D industry has been increasing dramatically since its start.
To imagine how it works - think about caves and the shimmering beauty of stalactites and stalagmites
- oozing water has been dripping for centuries, making a new layer of mineral deposits with each drop
- and drop by drop fairy forms appear.
The process of 3D printing starts with laying out an idea with animation modeling software or computer aided design (CAD). You can generate a virtual pattern of the object to be printed with the chosen program which splits the designed object into digital cross-sections so the 3D printer can construct it layer by layer. The cross-sections are needed for guiding the printer create an object with size and shape perfectly matching your initial idea. Regardless what the used program is, „what you see is what you get”. You don’t need to be a designer to create models to be printed - you can buy them here, or even download them for free.
Visit www.shapeways.com for quality 3D printing.