3D print is a phenomenon that has recently been added to the ever growing world of print. You may have been following its rapid and engaging development over the past few years? What you may not know is that just like your mobile phone, in years to come 3D print could become an inseparable piece of technology you couldn’t imagine yourself without.

The iPhone was released June 29th 2007, that’s nearly 10 years ago now. Who would have imagined that nearly every single person would go on to have a smart phone that can perform ingenious ways of communication like Face time or the ability to have a GPS in your hands at any point and pin point your exact location, or have a camera feature capable of taking photos comparable to the professionals all within the reach of your pocket? I certainly didn’t and this is what I believe will come of 3D printing.

Now, you might be surprised about the statement I just made. Comparing 3D print to the likes of an iPhone? What use would you have with 3D print for everyday use or for business? Imagine the ability to construct literally anything for a small fee within the comfort of your own home or office! Imagine you have run out of mugs, you could print one! Fancy learning the guitar? You can print one. Need a new clock on the wall? Print one. Need a new pair of heels? Print a pair. The possibilities are truly endless, simply hop onto www.thingiverse.com and you will have access to thousands of 3D designs, simply press “Print” and your 3D printer will start constructing your item before your eyes!

Amazing things have been created with the use of 3D printing, from items such as prosthetic body parts to a mini figurine of yourself! Other notable items printed through the means of 3D printing include cars. Yes you read that correctly! A car has been created by a 3D printer, and it works too! This car named “The Strati”, which is Italian for layers, was constructed within a mere 44 hours by a company called Local Motors based in the United States. This car was 75% printed with the remaining components traditional materials such as tyres, seats, wheels, battery, wiring, suspension and an electric motor. Local Motors plan to produce 90% of the car using 3D printing technology when the car is made available to the public in late 2016! If you want your own 3D printed car then get saving, because to own this beast of a car (top speed of a whooping 40mph), prepare to dish out £11,000! Click here to see the car for yourself!

From left, Douglas Woods, president of The Association for Manufacturing Technology and John "Jay" Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Local Motors drive a 3D printed car out of McCormick Place during the International Manufacturing Technology Show Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Chicago. The car was assembled on the show floor in one week and contains less than 50 parts. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)

You might be wondering how does a 3D printer work? At first sight you may be forgiven for thinking a 3D printer is like something out of a sci-fi film. Downloading a 3D image off a computer it constructs an object using unique a process. This process is called “Addictive Processes” and is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object has been “printed”! So in other words, it’s like building a skyscraper from the ground up!

The worldwide 3D printing industry is expected to grow from $3.07B in revenue in 2013 to $12.8B by 2018, and exceed $21B in worldwide revenue by 2020.
Source: Wohlers Report 2015

This statement indicates the huge potential of 3D print. Within a mere 5 years the revenue around 3D print is expected to quadruple! Just how important will 3D printers become? Will they become an everyday household item like the humble desktop printer?

3D print isn’t expensive to use, 1kg of filament can be purchased for around £12 and to put things into perspective, 1kg worth of filament can print 392 chess pieces! The cost of the printer itself ranges from £159 for a low range unassembled machine, increasing to £7,188 for a top of the range desktop 3D printer.

What are your thoughts on 3D printing? Do you think it can take over the world? Will you get involved in 3D printing?

Why not share your opinion below or forward this blog with your friends and see what they think?