3D Print:
NOW!

The 3D-printer is one of the major innovations of this century. With this digitally controlled machine products cannot only be produced faster and cheaper, but also in more complex shapes. Moreover, products can easily be adapted to the demands of the individual consumer. There is a reduced need for new products anyway, as everyone can print spare parts for repairs at home. Large factories are no longer needed. In short, 3-D-printing is the start of a new industrial revolution.

Using 3D-printing techniques makes it possible to produce in large numbers, whereas the individual products retain their unique characteristics. The software that is required to adapt a particular design to personal preferences is becoming more and more user-friendly. By using a 3D-scanner the contours of a body part can be converted into a digital design. In this way, for instance, it is possible to produce bespoke medical prostheses. In the end the consumer will have total freedom, as he cannot only produce his own products, but also design them. In fact, it seems we are witnessing the start of a new Industrial Revolution. Standard 3D-printers can be used to turn out small-scale bioplastics products of a moderate quality, but it takes a fair degree of technical expertise to create well-designed and efficient objects.

The 3D-print: NOW! exhibition shows what can be achieved with this innovative technique, from the production of everyday practical objects and extravagant fashion accessories, to food and even complete buildings. As the developments in 3D-printing are occurring at an exceedingly fast rate, it will also take a look at the future. Examples are print work with very strong carbon fibres and titan, but also with clay, glass and even wood pulp. The introduction of industrial 3D-printers as large as sea containers has made it possible to print objects in ever increasing dimensions. At the other end of the scale there are extremely expensive and advanced 3D-printers from space industry that can be used for printing within tolerances of millimetres. But there are also simple 3D-printers that everyone can make themselves, because all parts are produced with, wait for it... indeed, a 3D-printer. In the near future it will be possible to print with living cells and smart materials which react to heat or light. Consequently the impact that the 3D-printer will have on our daily life will only increase further. 

Architecture

3D-printing of complete buildings is not yet possible because of the lack of quality, high costs, low-quality materials and limited volumes. However, in the field of architecture there are plenty of experiments going on with digital production methods. For instance, façade panels and decorative building elements are produced at building sites. Thanks to the application of robot technology it is possible to print bigger and bigger constructions. The basic design of a building can easily be adapted to local or personal preferences by means of special design software. View the topic Architecture.

Art

3D-printers offer the possibility to produce objects with complex forms. This does not only open up new opportunities for artists to express themselves, but it also makes the restoration of existing works of art or their replication easier and cheaper. Although the 3D-printer will never be able to replace brushes, paints, chisels and natural materials like marble or wood, digital production techniques will become a fullyfledged discipline. View the topic Art.

Body

The main field for the application of 3D-printing will probably be the medical sector. Making protheses, hearing aids and orthopaedic footwear has never before been so easy. It is almost impossible to imagine dentistry without 3D-printers. Because everything is made to measure, there is hardly any wastage of valuable materials. Moreover, 3D-printing means enormous savings on labour costs. In the future living tissue and stem cells will be used in printing. This will give rise to new ethical issues. View the topic Body.

Everyday Life

Thanks to the 3D-printer everyone can produce their own utensils and spare parts in the future. Even large objects like chairs as sectional designs can be produced with a simple printer. The digital design drafts can be downloaded by one mouse click, sometimes even for free. This brings the production of customised products within everyone’s reach. Meanwhile, large companies such as IKEA have discovered this advantage of 3D-printing. View the topic Everyday Life.

Fashion

No body is the same, that is why 3D-printing is on the up and up in the fashion industry. From accessories like jewellery to indispensable items such as underwear, it will become the norm to produce clothing with a perfect fit on the basis of body scans. A nice touch is that items can be given personal accents such as initials or unusual colour combinations. Being exclusive has always been an important factor in fashion. View the topic Fashion.

Food

With a 3D-printer cooking does not only become easier, but also more fun. With a 3D-printer amateur chefs, too, can prepare dishes with intricate shapes. At the moment relatively easy dishes like pancakes and gateaus are already made by means of 3D-printers. In future food that consists of various ingredients will also be printed. View the topic Food.

New Possibilities

Developments in 3D-printing follow in rapid succession. Innovative materials, more efficient production techniques and new types of product types are continuously experimented with and the influence of 3D-printing is bound to increase. That it will not always be a positive one is shown by a 3D-printed pistol that people can print themselves. View the topic New Possibilities.

Inspired by 3D print: NOW!? Share your vision on 3DQB.nl!

Visitors of the 3D-print expo can share their vision, idea of wish on the future of 3D-printing at the 3DQB-setup. The best, most original or most surprising messages will be 3D-printed and shown on the "Cloud of 3D wishes" at the exposition. The Cloud will show the current ideas on 3D-printing.