The possibilities of three dimensional printing

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 23, 2014

Recently there have been several presentations concerning the budding technology called 3D printing.

Schools in Picayune have offered classes that teach this technology for the past couple of years, allowing students exposure to what may be a common household product within 10 years.

While most presentations center on the production of objects made of plastic, metal or rubber, research is being conducted on printing food, objects with moving parts and even human body parts.

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Several applications are possible with such an interesting process. The most exciting is space travel.

On Earth, many objects we take for granted are not common in the void of space. Food printing would probably be the most essential while traveling to Mars, or another distant planet.

A long journey to Mars, which would take months, would also require the ability to produce tools of varying kinds. At times the tool needed to complete a job in space may not even exist, and would have to be designed for that specific purpose.

Since load capacity is limited with space travel, the ability to print whatever was needed at a certain point would be most valuable.

If a part broke down on the spacecraft, another could be printed. If someone was injured in an accident, the injury could potentially be treated without the need for surgery.

These scenarios and the capabilities are not within our grasp just yet, but the fact that they are being developed shows how technology advances by leaps and bounds as the years pass.

Fifteen years ago no one would have thought smartphones and social media would be commonplace. Forty years ago no one could have thought the Internet would have grown to the degree it has, but here it is.

It’s interesting to think what will be commonplace in another 40 years.