Imagine you are at the end stages of decorating a room and adding the final touches, a lamp shade, a piece of art or simply an accessory such as a vase or ornament. Maybe you spotted something out of your budget, or you had an idea but couldn't find the product. You may be the owner of a homeware or jewelry business and have an idea for a product but don't know where to begin. What if you were able to use a CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing), to be able to create and produce your design in just a few minutes, sounds incredible, well it's not. The easiest way for me to explain this is, your initial idea or sketch is transferred into a 3D design using a computer aided program (CAD/CAM). The 3D printer then prints the image, layer upon layer, until it becomes a full size 3 dimensional product.
Although in the early stages of growth, the prospects for the future of 3D printing are mind blowing. In 2012 the first 3D house was built at the University of Southern California with the use of a 3D printer. Without becoming too technical, once the 3D model was designed, a 3D printer large enough to construct the walls of the house printed out a concrete type material layer upon layer. The interior and exterior walls of a 2,500 square foot house were completed in just 20 hours. I was completely amazed when I read this, now understanding the importance and versatility of this fascinating process I am keen to see where it leads to in the future.
Designers are already experimenting with this amazing technology, recently I discovered a new website called Styleshapes. A creative hub for 3D designers to show off their work and gain more exposure. At Styleshapes innovative designers can display their products and link back to where they can be purchased. This may be their own website, Etsy, eBay, Shapeways or Sculpteo. If you are still a little bamboozled by the idea of being able to print out 3D designs, I have selected some product images from Styleshapes as examples of the endless possibilities. Metal, plastic and ceramics have been used in the materials of some of the featured products below.
1. Cuckoo clock by Mimi & Eve 2. 1st floor mug by Adam Nathanieal Thurman 3.Stag by Dotsan 4.V Tea light candle holder by Pregnant Cat 5. Shark bottle opener by AndyZoer 6.Your secret heart expresso cup by Wiebus
To me, one of the most fascinating things about 3D printing, is what lies ahead. Imagine you break an item in your home, maybe a wheel on a vacuum cleaner, or a cup you loved that is no longer in production. With the use of CAD/CAM in a few moments you could print out a replica. I think it's ingenious and ideas are almost infinite, I can imagine, one day we will be able to design and produce our own house and furniture. Like most things, however, it is best to start small. If you want to try some jewelry designs then check out Nervous System - Cell Cycle jewelry and Zazzy, where you can customise and print your ideas to produce a personalised piece of jewelry.
Nervous System - Cell Cycle jewelry
I am really excited about the advancement in 3D printing for homeware and I will be keeping an eye out for more innovative ideas. I might even come up with a design myself, who knows! I hope you now have an understanding of how 3D printing works. You can see more 3D products at Styleshapes Pinterest page or follow along to keep up on the latest designs on their Facebook page.
To my USA readers, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Sharing this post with the following blogs: