The rapid development of tools and uses of 3D printing (tabletop manufacturing) promise benefits to individuals, local communities, the economy, and the planet.
Just consider the environmental benefit of recycling our waste plastic instead of adding to the already most-filled landfills. Consider that just 1.5 million tons of plastic waste is created by just plastic bottles. If plastic is burned instead of being put into landfills, it takes twice as much energy to burn than to recycle it?
Converting our waste into the materials used by 3-D printers will benefit everyone. Imagine, too, that it proving economic to “mine” landfills, reclaiming waste from the past!
Scanning an existing object or combination of objects so you can repair things you already own is part of the process of 3D printing. Smaller and less expensive scanners are coming onto the market. MakerBot has announced a $1,400 Digitizer that resembles a turntable record player. Other more expensive scanners are on the market, but expect less expensive scanners are coming. For example, a scanner for just $599 is being released by Matterform.
Medical Use: Bioprinting
While still being perfected, the promise of being able to use cells in gels to produce skin, blood vessels, cartilage and even organs like hearts and livers. Already cartilage” has been successful “printed” from cow tissue. Imagine a printer in an operating room in a community hospital, able to produce needed parts in the operating room – faster medical care, no waiting, cutting down on transportation costs.
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