A new form of manufacturing has the potential to stand out in quite a few professions and niches. Before I cover that, let's cover what 3D printing is. In engineering talk, this technology is known as additive manufacturing, a form of manufacturing that involves the layer by layer fusion of various materials within a 3D printer. A variety of products can be created that are very unconventional to the manufacturing world like a ball within a ball, moving parts coming straight out of the printer, or high precision pieces. This form of manufacturing is much more convenient than traditional forms of manufacturing when it comes to specific projects. For instance, it would be much easier to create 1-2 specific models rather than having to mass produce them. Molds can be created through 3D printing, but molds aren't always necessary. When it comes down to 3D printing, this technology can out-do CNC cutting because a 3D printer doesn't work off of multiple axis's; it outperforms the aspect of cutting at certain aspects. In a nutshell, this is a form of manufacturing that can create products out of a wide variety of materials in almost any shape and out of a wide variety of materials. This type of manufacturing can come in handy to quite a few professions and niches. First off, let's cover how it helps product developers.
3D printing allows product developers to create prototypes in a much more inexpensive way, opposed to traditional methods. As I mentioned earlier, product developers wouldn't have to mass produce a product either. Ordering 1-5 products wouldn't be a ridiculous order for additive manufacturing companies to take on. Bulk ordering isn't an issue for developers to worry about. When a product blueprint is sent to be manufactured, so many variables have to come into play with traditional methods of manufacturing. However, when it comes down to 3D printing - one of the only things artists have to worry about is the width, and build envelope. There isn't anything to be concerned about when it comes down to manufacturing products at a certain axis. Models are simply easier to get through when it comes to 3D printing.
Another industry that could benefit from 3D printing would be architecture and design. If for example, a mall or subdivision were about to be created and developed, that would be a pretty large project. In many situations, investors may be involved. Perhaps upper management would like to have a better idea on what they are getting into before they develop a vast architectural job. Through 3D printing, the developing team could present a physical model of the plot of land and buildings that would come into existence. Investors or management would be able to hold a landscape. This could bring a new level of confidence for management or investors through 3D printing.
When it comes down to it, 3D printing can assist engineers all over when it comes down to some form of product development, whether it be a specific gasket, or a valve system for an oil rig - regardless, something may need to be prototyped or manufactured. Dealing with limitations of other manufacturing methods might prevent certain projects from going through as smoothly as they could. Perhaps there needs to be a prototype created of a certain model before it is produced. Maybe a certain specific part needs to be developed in one piece. 3D printing can definitely assist a wide variety of industries.