Is 3D printing the next big thing?

This century a novel, innovative pop-up is implemented in the way we design and create objects. Have you ever heard of it? This technology is called 3D printing, and plays a major role in a variety of important components in our modern life. We can use 3D printers from our households and for private use, to industry and massive production. Young people need to know about this subject and understand how powerful it is and how it can help them.

What is the story behind the 3D printer? Early in 1980 in Japan, Hideo Kodama had the idea to develop a rapid, prototyping system to print layer-by-layer. Following 6 years later, Charles Hull submitted his patent in 1988, and the first commercial printer was released. After years of improvement, the first prosthetic leg was printed in 2008 and nowadays 3D printers are used all over the world to build houses.

The potential of 3D printing is massive and through the years, more and more people will be using this technology to design and create their own objects. They can use their design skills to print an object for their personal use, or to print something for earning some money.

The 3D2ACT project not only aims to teach the fundamentals of 3D design and printing, but also to provide various ideas on how we can use 3D printing to help ourselves and the community. This project is focusing on preparing vet school students, by improving their skills in 3D design (using CAD), 3D printing and their entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, it aims to train teachers how to incorporate and deliver this lesson at school.

3D printers can be used to create a single pencil case, to an entire building. The main benefit of using a 3D printer, is the working time. It can operate 24/7, without any heavy maintenance and is easy to use. Moreover, it uses cheap, recyclable materials and minimises waste.  The 3D2ACT project offers you the instructions for every step of the design, creation and customization the object.

The VET students that will be completing this project, will have the ability to print their own objects and apply the entrepreneurial skills they will have gained through this project. The community will benefit from this project, because a lot of students will have the desire to help with societal problems. For example, they will be able to print masks and satisfy communal needs.

According to the title “is 3D printing the next big thing?”, I strongly believe that it can be a catalyst subject for this century, since it can be used for designing and printing objects not only on this planet, but as Elon Musk dreams, to send a 3D printer to Mars and build a whole community.