3D printers spur technological innovation

Repetier is the computer program used to dictate what is to be printed.

Twenty years ago, nobody would have thought that a technology like the cell phone would end up becoming the technologically advanced smart phones they are today, and they’re everywhere. But in the next 20 years, 3D Printers will usher in the next technological revolution.

“A 3D printer is a device that is used to slice up a 3D object into flat pieces so it can reprint the  three dimensional object onto plastic or other medium so you can get a 3 dimensional representation of that object,” said Engineer Design and & Presentation teacher Joe White.

From food to body parts, 3D Printers will eventually be used to make a variety of things. They’re very flexible and can help humanity in the future.

“This is something that is going to benefit people, especially biologically,” White said. “Right now, they are using 3D printers to make kidneys, hearts, lungs, and things like that. You’ll be able to make engineering parts that you’ve never seen before, so you don’t have to have them send it out for it to be made at a factory.”

This technology takes advantage of the molecules in an object, and adds them on little by little until the whole thing is made.

“3D printers can make candy, can make food, and eventually whatever you want it to make. If you want a glass of water, then you could structure molecules to make the glass and the water with it. There are still options out there people are still trying to figure out,” said White.

Klein has bought its very own 3D printer, and plans to produce another one from the own printer itself.

“5 to 10 years ago, a technology like this would have cost $100,000, but now they’re a lot cheaper. We actually bought this one for $900, and we plan on using this 3D printer to make another one out of it. For that, it’d cost around $250. The 3D printer will produce and replicate itself. This is something any other machine could not do. With this, we can be very versatile with it and do what we want,” White said.

Senior Ben Craig in White’s class is working with the printer, and thinks it’s very useful.

“If you are mechanically minded, it’s really easy. But once you learn how to use it, it’s pretty awesome. It took me two days to print the parts for my project, and it took about 15 hours for about eight ounces of plastic,” Craig said.

He really enjoys 3D printing, and thinks it could be a rising technology that will lead the future.

“Oh I love this technology. You’ll be able to print prosthetic limbs necessary for third world countries. Whether it is for rapid prototyping or long-term builds, 3D printing is where it’s at, and you can do anything with it,” Craig said.

3D printing will aid the future of humanity to a great extent, and will be the next revolutionary technology after the smart phone.

“I think it is the future of the technology world. If you watch Star Trek and see the replicator machine they use, then we’ll get there in the next 30 years. It could really be a technology that could benefit humanity in the future. We can now make something out of nothing, and that type of thing is really great,” White said.