3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that turns a digital design files into functional, three-dimensional objects.
Items can be printed in a variety of materials such as prototyping plastic, transparent plastic, rubber-like plastic, high-detail resin and much more.
Though the 3D printing process has been used in industrial applications since the early 1980s, it only recently skyrocketed in popularity when the Fused Deposition Modeling—one of the most important aspects of 3D print—expired in 2009 (3dhubs.com). It not only enabled vital and rapid innovations to be made in the process, but also greatly reduced the price of 3D printers and 3D printing software. This allowed the once expensive process more accessible and affordable to both large and small businesses.
The 3D printing industry is projected to be a nearly $38 billion industry by 2023, according to Markets and Markets. This is widely due to the reduced manufacturing costs, the advances in technology and growing industry investments.
As the industry progresses, the applications from three-dimensional printing are only limited by the users’ imagination. 3D Printing has nearly infinite applications, including rapid prototyping, architectural models, forensic pathology, film and television production, fashion, custom prosthetics, medical devices and much more.