This month, I’ve explored 3D printing as a developing technology set to impact global commerce and quality of life, I’ve shared several of my favorite 3D innovations, and I’ve introduced the story of inventor Chuck Hull, the father of this groundbreaking invention.
The inventor is largely a jack of all trades. It’s important to keep a pulse on emerging perspectives, developments, and movements across industries. Understanding problems in existing technologies, identifying trends, and reading extensively can all add texture to the creative brainstorming process.
Here are some developments I am following in the world of 3D printing.
Just last week, 3D printing firm MX3D began construction on the world’s first 3D printed steel bridge, which will span a city canal in the famous Red Light District. This is a significant advance in the 3D printing industry—until recently, the technology to print large structures using metal alloys in mid-air did not exist. The project will take three to four months for completion.
A team of researchers from the Manchester Metropolitan University has recently received a grant to begin three years of work on a project to create 3D printed batteries with highly conductive graphene inks. These sustainable batteries and super capacitors will have increased storage and longer life spans, a critical component to clean energy.
An independent inventor has built a 3D printed, handheld railgun capable of launching graphite projectiles at up to 560MPH. The gun uses parallel electrodes to fire a bullet with over 1,800 joules of energy. This is a particularly important development as discussions on consumer weapons and 3D printing opportunities gain momentum. As 3D printing technologies become widely available to consumers, manufacturers and lawmakers are scrambling to establish boundaries and standards.
From massive architectural feats to green technologies to possible threats—3D printing will affect change, introduce new challenges, and offer once impossible solutions in every facet of our lives. Developments emerge daily, and the world is watching.