While 3D printing is still a growing technology, it is now more accessible worldwide than ever before. These four factors are helping drive that trend.
While it is a groundbreaking technology, 3D printing just seems like a cool but distant novelty for many. This is largely because of barriers to entry - namely the availability of a printer and the requisite 3D modelling and printing knowledge.
Like many innovations of this century, there is an uptake in the works for 3D printing, thanks to the way that the community has worked to make the technology more widely accessible. In cities all over the world, people are finding it easier than ever to dream up a new creation, translate that idea into a model and see it come to life on the printing bed.
These four factors are helping to drive that trend and make 3D printing a process that everyone can enjoy.
1. Modelling software that grows with skill levels
It's no secret that you can't get the full 3D printing experience without knowing your way around 3D modelling software. While it's cool to be able to print out someone else's design, the real joy comes from designing, prototyping and printing your own creation. The reality is, however, that 3D modelling software has previously been an intimidating prospect both in terms of difficulty and cost.
Fortunately, there are ways for people to get an introduction to 3D modelling without an overwhelming expense. Programs like AutoCAD 360 Pro and Autodesk Fusion 360 provide access to industry leading tools for developing new ideas from a basic concept through to a 3D print ready model. Once users are comfortable and having some success with those tools, they can consider moving to the more advanced tools in the Product Design Collection.
2. Putting printers in schools
There are two key ways that people interact with and learn their way around an unfamiliar piece of tech - diving in headfirst with personal trial and error, and formal instruction. For most adults, trial and error is the most convenient method for becoming familiar with 3D printing - especially as already-busy schedules rarely have room for classes on the side.
For students, on the other hand, schools can be an excellent place to supplement their learning about this technology.
All around the country, schools are incorporating 3D modelling and printing into their students' education. In South Australia, the Department for Education and Child Development has partnered with tech companies to help put the technology into classrooms in metropolitan Adelaide and the Limestone Coast - investing $40,000 to bring software, equipment and training to students in 28 schools for the 2016 academic year.
Redstack supply a 3D printing lab, perfect for schools, with a whole block of 3D printers running off one cable, complete with uninterruptable power supplies to manage any power interruptions. The convenient rack allows teachers to move the 3D printing lab from one class to another with ease.
See how these schools are achieving great results with 3D printers from Redtack.
Redstack is excited to help play a role in getting 3D printers into the classroom. Take a look at how schools like Meridan State College have been using the technology across the curriculum.
3. Resources for the community
For those not in school, it may seem like the only way to really enter the world of 3D printing is by investing the money into the necessary machine, software and training - a prospect that can be off-putting to those who have only a mild interest in the subject. Fortunately, that isn't the case. There are many ways that people can dip their toes into the 3D printing pool and test the water before diving in.
A growing addition to libraries all around the world, maker spaces are providing an environment for people to access the tools, materials and knowledge needed to learn more and engage with 3D modelling and printing, along with other specialised fields.
These maker spaces also give many people a way to get exposure and experience with 3D printing, especially those who cannot afford the initial hardware investment for the supplies they need. With maker spaces available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other locations around Australia, there are plenty of opportunities for the community to learn about this innovative technology.
4. Giving everyone a chance to print
For some people, 3D printing is just a novelty. Give them a chance to see just how useful it is, and they will undoubtedly change their minds. After all, few can deny the benefits of a technology that takes a design, physically produces it and puts it in someone's hand.
Thanks to 3D Hubs, more people than ever are in reach of a 3D-printed product. Based in the Netherlands, the online platform allows people to upload an .stl file, find a nearby 3D printer and arrange a print job. According to the 3D Hubs July 2016 Trends Report, the site now has listings in more than 150 countries - over 32,000 printers in total. Thanks to this service, 750 million people around the world now live within 10 kilometres of a 3D printer.
While 3D printing may only just be entering its adolescence, there are bright times ahead for the technology.
Get your 3D printer today.
Redtack supply a range of industry leading 3D printers, filaments and accessories from the Redstack eStore. All Redstack printers and filaments have been tested to ensure quality and value for money. We also have technical experts that offer training and support with your 3D printer purchase.
Contact Redstack today for more information about options and pricing on 3D printing solutions and software.