Few technologies have proved to be as revelatory as 3D printing in recent times. It’s astounding to think that up until just a few years ago the idea of being able to print out any real, physical object you could imagine – all safely at home – was mostly considered the stuff of science fiction.
Though the earliest 3D printing technologies can be traced back to 1986, when the first patent was issued for an SLA apparatus invented by Charles Hull, it was not until January 2009 that the first commercially available consumer 3D printer, the BfB RapMan, was put up for sale. The move was like the start of an avalanche. Soon, projects like Z Corp’s Spectrum Z510, RepRap and MakerBot’s Cupcake CNC kit began to change the world for good. 3D printers could be bought to use in anyone’s living room or office, and for many, it marked the start of the next industrial revolution. Fast-forward to today and 3D printing has been used to develop the world’s first fully drivable 3D-printed car, made up of 212 layers, and has enabled astronauts to quickly print much-needed tools on the International Space Station. One day soon, it could […]