3D printing should be predominantly understood as the process of creating various three-dimensional objects basing on the computer pre-designed model. Formerly, it was an ideal method of performing the prototype creation process. Currently, the rapid development of the available technology and the utilization of 3D printers made it possible to utilize the 3D printing technique to create ready-made products, such as: toys, clothes, prostheses, and even whole body parts.
In 1984, Charles Hull invented the stereolitography technology (SLA) which constitutes the very foundation of the modern 3D printing. After many years of researching and experimenting, Hull established the 3D Systems Company, which has been specializing in 3D printers production. The very first devices of such kind were notably similar to their inkjet counterparts. Nevertheless, instead of a typical cartridge, they were equipped with an insert containing a specified type of material, for example: plastic, polymers, titanium, gold, or silver. In the early 90s, there was a quick development in the 3D printing technology and first devices produced by the 3D Systems Company were capable of printing, for example, a prototype of a sink. The end of the 90s is inseparably connected with the first attempts to take advantage of the discussed technology in medicine. The very first artificial organ created by means of utilization of 3D printing was a bladder covered with the cells of the patient. Nowadays, no one is surprised that there is the possibility to recreate limbs, jaw implants, or kidneys thanks to 3D printing.
Even while taking into account the numerous advantages of the 3D printing technology, one must bear in mind its limitations as well. For example, there is no possibility to create any project in a 3D printer as fast as it is possible thanks to a typical inkjet device. Such a state of affairs is caused by the fact that the very procedure is much more complex. Nevertheless, the slow pace of printing is neither caused by the technological limitations, nor by the insufficient performance of the utilized device – it is the result of the necessity for the created object to be satisfyingly durable and accurate. There is no doubt that 3D printing technique is highly advanced and complicated – being in possession of a printing device does not necessarily translate into the possibility of creating something unusual and unique. One should also be familiar with CAD software in order to make the adventure with the said method of printing longer and more exciting. All the limitations of 3D printing are caused by the exceptional pace of technology development. It is in fact still quite innovative one, with several improvement capabilities.
Currently, the 3D printing technique is widely utilized in airline, automotive, and medical branches of industry. It therefore seems safe to formulate a hypothesis that the invention of 3D printing has revolutionized our everyday life. The said technique will rather not replace traditional production lines which create high quantities of items for everyday use, but it is simply unparalleled when it comes to the creation of customized commodities. The technology in question facilitates the provision of new type of services – print on demand.