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25 February 2016

The 3D printing revolution ... but what difference does 3D printing make?

"Should children be taught how to use 3D printers?" The idea might be far-fetched if it didn't come from the very serious Conseil économique, social et environnemental (CESE).

In a report, the institution recommends betting big on the expansion and teaching of three-dimensional printing. The aim is to "prepare" the "factory of the future".

Volumic 3D, whose 3D printers are based on FDM "Fused Depot Modeling" technology, is already very active in this field, equipping high schools, colleges, Polytechs and other engineering schools.

But many are asking: "What can you already do with a 3D printer? How will this revolutionize everyday life?

Here's a brief overview of the 3D printing revolution...

Fashion

The world of fashion and design has obviously caught on to 3D printing. Garments made with this technology have been presented at Fashion Weeks, and companies have already started designing for the general public.

These include Victoria's Secret and Continuum Fashion. The latter offers a seamless nylon-free bikini. Even shoes can be created using this same technology.

Here are just a few examples of Volumic3D's contributions in this sector

Houses

It will soon be as easy to build houses as it is to assemble prefabs.

L’année dernière, une entreprise chinoise a même réussi l’exploit d’imprimer dix maisons de 200m2 en 24 heures à Shanghai. Pour l’anecdote, l’imprimante 3D utilisée mesurait 32m de long, 10m de large et 6,6m de haut. Elle procède en empilant des couches de matériau les unes sur les autres régulièrement pour finir par le haut du batiment. Bientôt une réalité en France?

Aujourd’hui, de nombreux architectes utilisent déjà les imprimantes 3d pour imprimer leur création et ainsi aider leurs clients à mieux se projeter concrètement dans leur création.

Medical and R&D

Il peut s’agir notamment de reconstituer des parties du corps comme lorsqu’en 2012, des médecins ont implanté la première mâchoire imprimée dans la bouche d’un patient.

A biocompatible ear and nose cartilage have also been printed since then, and skin research is advancing apace. Within the next twenty years, organs could also be technologically recreated.

They can also be prostheses, as was the case this summer in France with Maxence's first 3D-printed hand prosthesis.

Machine parts and miscellaneous items

Initially capable of producing simple decorative trinkets, 3D printers are now capable of reconstituting far more complex objects. These can range from simple consumer items to aircraft engines or car chassis.

The contribution can be even simpler, with the creation of ultra-customized objects (telephone covers, advertising objects, decorative objects, etc.).

One thing's for sure: 3D printing really is a revolution!

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