Future Materials for 3D Printing
3D Printing has grown rapidly and it’s gaining popularity in areas like fashion, aeronautics, and medicine; thanks to innovative new materials we see this technology being used for wildly different purposes. The future of new 3D printing materials will drive this technology to new horizons.
With half of 2015 behind us, it’s only natural to think about the future of 3D printing materials. Many large companies have invested in additive manufacturing for 2015, and have stated that they will increase their investments in 2016. One sector of 3D printing that is rocketing in popularity is wearable technology so in addition to design-ability materials are now being tested for comfort, flexibility and durability. For now the ability to print fully functional ready to wear products that feature electronic devises printed within (no assembly needed) is still far out, but there have been recent developments in this area thanks to the hard work of the University of Kent and CPI in the UK. This duo created a tracking bracelet by 3D printing an antenna, and with a separate machine they 3D printed the bracelet that the antenna slides into.
There are plenty of unusual materials used for printing, and you can see a recent article we wrote about these “fringe” materials. The next sector that we’re seeing rapid growth in is the medical industry. Recently a new material was announced, and this material was developed to assist with cutting down the pain, healing and rehabilitation time involved in knee replacement surgery. The new material is a nylon and titanium blend, and has proven to be lighter weight and stronger; for now it has been used for knee replacements but the possibilities for this material are endless.
The future of 3D printed materials is hard to pinpoint but as you’ve seen here we’re making progress with electronic 3D printing and lighter materials that can help in the medical field. Currently organic materials (or materials that mimic true ‘organic material’) are catching on in popularity. Fashionable items are being printed in materials like wood, marble, stone etc. below you’ll see a 3D printed watch made from a material that mimics wood.
We recently asked our LinkedIn group what types of materials (and techniques) they’d like to print with and they had a lot of great ideas! If you are not currently a member of our LinkedIn group I would urge you to join, and submit your dream material. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!