3D Printers: Awesome, Ludicrous, and Sometimes Practical

3D printers have been doing some pretty amazing things since the day they showed their pretty little faces on our Facebook feeds. From reduced costs of artificial limbs, to bio printing. Some 3D printers have even been used to help people who have been in accidents—making facial prosthetics that imitate the healthy side of their face so they can live a happy life. Some people have even started building foundations for homes with 3D printers—though this project is just in early stages of development. Even with all these incredible things coming from 3D printing, there are as many ridiculous applications of 3D printing as there are of the amazing ones.

People do some pretty ‘out there’ things with 3D printers, from guns to cars, to a kayak made to look identical to female genitalia—I know I can hardly believe it either—but what does this accomplish? I know that there can be something said about testing the limits of such an amazing piece of machinery, but at a certain point it just becomes ridiculous. What happened to all the practical uses that 3D printers have? Unfortunately social media tends wash out all the more practical uses of 3D printers that aren’t so over the top or awe inspiring. That’s why we’re here—to give you a bit of a refresher on how other people are using 3D printers for productive design applications and aren’t making major headlines.

There are many companies that are now making some of their smaller parts with 3D printers, whereas before they could only use specifically machined parts, Saving them tons, and in the long run, you the consumer. We can also see companies like OEM making end-use parts—this allows them to test their devices before the final product goes into manufacturing. These amazing advances allow for companies to make innovations on specific parts of their products without having to actually manufacture parts for testing new ideas. Companies have been able to mass produce 3D printed products that used to only be produced in factories with metal—allowing for some of the more essential things in life to become a fraction of the cost.

One of the more common—but far too often neglected—uses for 3D printers is prototyping. Like we mentioned in our previous blog post—we have been making an encasement for Zone4’s one-of-a-kind race timing chip. By being able to produce parts as we design them, we are able to let our customers comprehend what their final product might look like, and actually test how well it works. This can be done with larger products as well, by making scaled versions of the product.

3D printing has made way for some pretty amazing, and pretty ludicrous things, and it’s not going to stop any time soon, but it has definitely made our lives a lot easier. How do you use 3D printing? Do you use a 3D printer in your home or business? We’d love to hear from you.