3D printing is changing how everything
is made, from furniture and faucets
to even buildings themselves
From producing the tiniest objects to even full-scale buildings, 3D printing is
one of those rare inventions, like the internet or the printing press, that may
transform our daily lives and even our whole economy.
Since the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing has largely been confined to
a select few who possess the resources for mass production. Now, thanks
to a new generation of 3D printers, many of them affordable, the process of
designing and producing an object can be performed by anyone, anywhere—
be it individuals tinkering at home, designers prototyping ideas, or, in some
cases, companies engaged in modest forms of mass production. All told,
the 3D printing market is expected to be worth more than $32 billion by
2023, at an annual growth rate of just over 25 percent, according to business-to-business research firm MarketsandMarkets.
Perhaps no other profession will ultimately be affected more by 3D printing’s
future than that of interior design. After all, every scale of design at home, at
work, and at play could be affected. But, any exciting new technology also
brings its share of hype. How far has 3D printing really made its way into the
mainstream, and how far can we expect the technology to take us?
Of course, there is no single answer to that question, for there is a whole
landscape of 3D-printed products and possibilities to explore. What’s clear,
though, is that our basic notion of the technology—fairly small objects made
from many thin layers of plastic resin—already is transforming.
i+D — November/December 2018
By Brian Libby