January 31, 2012
Even after nearly two decades of development and use, 3D printing is still a relatively new technology. As is the case with most new technologies, the manner in which it is implemented is often based on what people expect from older technologies. Most 3D printers are used to create prototypes, but the creation of a prototype isn’t anything new, 3D printers just make the process faster.
The same is true of many actual products created by 3D printing. Companies use the technology to create the same products that have always existed. Jewelry made using 3D investment casting is basically the same as any other jewelry that resulted from pouring metal into a mold. True breakthroughs in 3D printing will come when companies learn to change the form of their products, rather than just the manner in which they are created.
It is to this end that researchers at MIT are pushing the boundaries of 3D printing. Led by Presidential Fellow