While computer-aided additive manufacturing processes have been around for more than 30 years, the technology, now widely known as 3D printing, is reaching a tipping point. It is advancing rapidly, making its way to consumers, and reshaping manufacturing in the 21st century.
The Third Industrial Revolution is about highly customized fabrication and it’s happening now. Powered by Information Age advancements, it is poised to unlock the potential in every person to create, innovate and fabricate.
3D printing opens up inspiring possibilities and opportunities, like the ability to produce a fully functional “machine” in one print. It is the only manufacturing process that can interlock parts within parts to produce functioning closed systems that require no assembly. Furthermore, because 3D printers produce objects directly from computer models, students can immediately hold, evaluate, test and use their ideas – and share them digitally with the world. The Internet revolutionized the creation, modification and dissemination of digital media. Now, 3D printing makes that possible for physical objects. 3D printing is reshaping the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, design and architecture by revolutionizing how things are made.