Start Your Own 3D Printing Business: 11 Interesting Cases of Companies Using 3D Printing
So, now you think you’re ready. You have spent the past year learning everything there is about the world of 3D printing, scouring YouTube and Reddit for every minute detail and insight there is on this revolutionary new technology.
You may have even taken the time to go out and purchase a Sinterit 3D printer for your workspace. Naturally, you want to start your own 3D printing business.
However, before you jump head first into the deep end of the world of 3D printing, one should take the time to understand how 3D printing is reshaping the industries around us so that you can add value with your future 3D printing business. A little lost? Do not worry, today Interesting Engineering has got your back.
With the assistance of the extensive research provided by the 3D printing thought- leaders 3D Hubs, you will learn about how additive manufacturing is reshaping some of the world’s largest industries and take a look at some short case studies of companies doing interesting things with the technology. So, strap in and put on your 3D printed eyeglasses.
Business is a Boomin
2019 will be an exciting year for 3D printing. As mentioned in 3D Hubs’ 3D Printing Trends Q1 2019 report, “The most significant change in 2018 was the evolution of our perception of the technology. 3D printing isn’t just for prototyping anymore; Additive is now a viable method of manufacturing.”
From Bugatti to Adidas, 3D printing has already touched these industries with its technology affecting both the design process as well as the manufacturing process. With a market size well over 10 billion, the world of 3D printing is expected to grow nearly 23.5% each year for the next five years. So, perhaps you are getting in at the perfect time.
According to the 400 plus companies survey in the 3D Hubs report, 3D printing serves two major functions across its wide range of industries: prototype and additive manufacturing.
As a prototyping solution, 3D printing is used to accelerate product development, while as a manufacturing technology it is used for the production of end-use parts.
3D printing for prototyping drastically speeds up the design process, offering low-cost, functional prototypes and widely accessible solutions for companies of all sizes.
While on the side of manufacturing, companies are using the technology for things like mass customization, on-demand production, and even distributed manufacturing.
3D Printing is Everywhere
As the subtitle implies, 3D printing is just about everywhere. However, there are some industries that are currently more drawn to technology than others. Jumping into the 3D Hubs report again, and you will notice that 65% of demand for 3D printing tech derives itself from engineers working in the development of industrial, electrical or consumer goods.
3D printing it catching fire in the automotive industry with 3 out of 4 companies in the US & Germany ( BMW, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Mercedez-Benz, GM) now using 3D printing to mass-manufacture parts for their cars or for spare part production.
Nevertheless, the realms of arts & media, the medical field, and even the service industry have even caught the 3D printing bug. So, what companies are doing interesting things with 3D printing? We are glad you asked.
3D Printing Office Spaces
Company: Dubai Future Foundation
You are probably already well aware of how 3D printing will change the world of construction. Slowly but surely there are companies emerging around the world that hold the promise of creating homes and building at a fraction of the cost and time of what you may be typically accustomed to around the world.
Dubbed the Office of the Future, the project is part of Dubai’s larger strategy of using 3D printing to improve people’s lives. Standing 20 feet high, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide, the 3D printing used for the office building not only helped cut labor costs by 50% but only took 17 days to print.
3D Printing Organs to Save Lives
Company: MBC Biolabs/Prellis Biologics
Implanting 3D printed organs into an injured person may seem like something out of a science fiction film, but Prellis Biologics can assure that it is a very real possibility in the near future. As part of the MBC Biologic incubator, the small team has made viable steps toward 3D printing hearts, livers, kidneys and lungs.
Reengineering Classic Cars
Finding a classic car can be a pain, but properly maintaining or finding the right parts for your beloved classic can be daunting. 3D printing is changing that. Merging the retro with the future, the Daimler Group in conjunction with Mercedes Benz has found a way to 3D print spare parts for highly sought after Mercedes-Benz classics like the elegant 300 SL Coupé or the SL Roadster.
Mercedes was able to take decade old designs and sketches and breathe new life into them, printing the needed parts in a host of metal materials.
3D Printing the Sole of Sneakers
There could come a time where a majority of your wardrobe is completely 3D printed. Adidas Futurecraft sneakers 4D shoes gives us a sneak peek at what is to come.
In collaboration with 3D printing leader Carbon, Adidas produced a limited edition shoe with a durable and sleek 3D printed sole. The shoe was a success, hinting at the potential 3D printing has in the world of fashion.
Riding on a 3D Printed Bike
Dubbed the Arc Bike, the project was designed by a team of students from TU Delft alongside 3D printing design experts MX3D. Taking three months, to complete a six-axis robotic arm constructed the steel bicycle in mid-air without the need for support structures commonly used on more complex prints.
3D Printing Artistic Pastries
Company: Dinara Kasko
Dinara Kasko’s work falls at the intersection of where food meets art. Using her Ultimaker 3D printer, alongside other 3D printing tools, Kasko has created visually appealing geometrical kinetic tarts that look so good that you almost do not want to eat them. Her work has taken the internet by storm, inspiring some companies to rethink the way food is experienced and to examine what roles 3D printing will play.
3D Printing in High Fashion
Company: Anouk Wipprecht
3D printing has drastically lowered the barrier of entry for designers, allowing them to prototype and bring to life their designs at little to no cost. Some fashion designers are even creating fully wearable pieces with technology.
Anouk Wipprecht’s work incorporates 3D printing. Dubbed the Spider Dress, the 3D printed animatronic dress responds to external stimuli, defending the wearer with its spider limbs from anyone who dares to get a little too close.
3D Printing for Space Exploration
3D printing in space just makes sense and could lay the framework for future planetary colonization. Rather than travel with everything on board a ship, why not 3D print while traveling or even at the destination? These are some of the challenges that the minds are NASA are currently tackling.
Aside from NASA's plans to potentially use 3D printing as a way to build housing in space, in 2018 NASA designed a spacecraft that had 3D printed components. 3D printing spacecraft could dramatically speed up space exploration.
3D Printing to Build Bridges
MXD3 is very literally bridging the gap between design and 3D printing. As part of a project in Amsterdam, the team has created a fully functional stainless steel bridge to cross one of the oldest and most famous canals in the center of Amsterdam, the Oudezijds Achterburgwal. Even more impressive, the bridge itself was built by two automated robotic arms.
3D Printing Food
Why not 3D print your own edible utensils. The startup byFlow allows users to do just that. Their 3D printer can extract food and print just about any geometric shape that you can think of for your plates. Printing in savory and sweet flavors, their printer is another example of how 3D printing is changing food.
3D Printing Content
As mentioned in the 3D Hubs report, “Lack of awareness of the full capabilities of the technology is attributed as the main barrier to broader adoption by industry experts.” Use your 3D printing knowledge to create content for those, who were just like you unaware of all that 3D printing has to offer. The market is in desperate need of 3D printing content on platforms like Youtube and Vimeo. Become the next big voice.