3D printers are one of the most exciting new products to come to market in the last few years. When combined with CAD drafting skills, 3D printing enables both small companies and individual consumers to create complex products that before could only be created with industrial-grade machinery. Some of the innovative products being created in the field of 3D printing include:
- A home 3D printer you can buy piece by piece – One of the biggest barriers to widespread consumer usage of 3D printers is the price point. Many people who are interested in learning to use 3D printers and creating with them simply can’t afford to pay for one all at once. British publisher Eaglemoss is currently targeting those exact consumers, offering their Vector 3 3D printer in monthly installments of £6.99. While the 90 month timeframe is a big commitment, Eaglemoss’s plan to have would-be 3D printer users get pieces of a 3D printer shipped to them every month through a subscription to their 3D Create & Print partwork magazine is a big initial step toward making 3D printers a staple item in the average home.
- Personalized bicycle helmets with built-in crumple zones – Sebastian Conran, the designer of the Vector 3 3D printer mentioned above that Eaglemoss is currently selling piece by piece, is also hard at work using his 3D printers to create the perfect bicycle helmets, ones that are designed to fit each individual user’s head, and which have impact-absorbing crumple zones built into their design to provide improved levels of protection. Conran compares his conception of these custom helmets to shoes – we’re used to buying shoes that come in sizes that are made to fit the particular shape of our feet, so why can’t we do the same for the bicycle helmets that can save lives and prevent serious injury? Using digital scanning to map out the exact shape of people’s heads, Conran is hard at work making that level of personalization the standard for the future of bicycle helmets.
- Consumer grade 3D printers will allow the modification of home items – Conran and other 3D printing advocates are already imagining the evolution of the 3D printer from an industrial-grade tool for specialists, to a true consumer-grade product that can be used regularly in any normal household. One of the first things for which consumer-level 3D printers will likely be used is the creation of replacement parts for household items. Instead of shipping items through the mail or a delivery service, they can instead email the 3D plans directly to the consumer and have them be printed out in their own home.
- CAD software and 3D printing could combine into a consumer revolution – With the widespread use and availability of computer aided design (CAD) software, the combination of both 3D printers and design programs on the consumer level could change the way products are manufactured and sold. With a few lessons or tutorials in CAD design, individual consumers can learn the basics of designing their own products and replacement parts for everything from furniture, to tools, to electronics. While each person’s level of design skills will affect what they can create for themselves, 3D printing is likely to open up many new doors to individuals and families to create their own products for less than the ones now available for purchase.
For more information on how CAD and 3D printers are being combined to innovate the design industry, contact Q-CAD today at 800-700-3305.