Last update: 02-Aug-2014 4:51 am
Saturday, August 02, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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How 3D printing is changing the shape of businesses
Ever sketched a design idea on paper and wondered what it might look like if it could be brought to life? An earring design, a pendant, perhaps? A sculpture, or special widget? Or even a house plan?
One of the greatest challenges faced by artisans, entrepreneurs and small business operators is turning an idea into a tangible product. Often, the task of moving from concept to a functional prototype can be so difficult, many great ideas simply remain just that – ideas.
The advent of affordable, consumer-friendly, 3D printing technology presents an answer to this universal challenge and offers big opportunities for small businesses. It is an intriguing intersection of design, manufacturing, sports, engineering and technology with implications for sectors as diverse as health, education, home improvement and space exploration.
A Printing Revolution
3D printing is not really that new, it’s just newly affordable. It popularity was confined to the world of engineering, architecture and manufacturing until the last few years. That all changed with the introduction of relatively low-cost 3D-pirinters, and the wider availability of 3D-printing software, online how-to guides and thousands of practical applications. This convergence has sparked a 3D printing revolution, fuelled by mainstream media interest and growing popularity with consumers and small businesses. Today, 3D printing is one of the most hyped advancements in the technology arena.