3D printing isa very impactful form of manufacturing technology. This technology allows forthe creation of almost anything from over 60 materials! Just imagine that – youhave the power to create virtually anything. Sure there are some limits. The buildenvelope, or maximum size of a 3D printed object isn’t massive. Some models goas large as 10 inches by inches by 10 inches – plus or minus a little bit. Thedetail levels are limited dependent on the material, but some materials offerdetails as high as 10 microns! The average diameter of a human hair is over 20microns. Imagine that kind of detail! This would allow for the creation ofincredibly intricate models. This technologyis also gaining in stature, as other applications are making it easier to use3D printing. Places like Kraftwurx or Shapeways are becoming much morecompetitive with supplying this technology to the masses. Businesses likethatsmyface are allowing for truly custom products. Imagine being able to 3Dprint your face on an action figure. Sound interesting? There is hype,by what is 3D printing? 3D printing is the layer by layer creation of virtuallyany shape through a 3D printer. These printers are very intricate, and cancreate some serious models! For a product to be created through 3D printing, acomputer image must be created. Artists, designers, engineers, whatever you’dlike to call it – they will have to develop a computer image. This image willbe the blueprint for the product. This design will then be sent to a computerprior to manufacturing. These printers work with a computer aided manufacturingsystem (CAM) and will create products in accordance to the designs. Models arecreated layer by layer within these printers out of various materials. Thesematerials can consist of a wide variety of properties. Some materials offermechanical properties. Others are smooth. Some are heat retardants. A few areflexible. Many are rigid. Whatever you’re looking for, a material is probablyin existence for that purpose. Materials like stainless steel, cobalt chrome,titanium, Inconel, glass, ceramics, ABS plastic, nylons, rubber like materials,silver, gold, platinum, and others are available. Keep in mind that if adesigner, artist, or engineer can design a product, then it can be manufacturedthrough 3D printing. With that in mind, take into account that virtuallyanything can be manufactured out of virtually any material that is used formanufacturing purposes. We can create almost anything! Fully function parts arecoming out of printers. Applications such as a ball within a ball are comingout. Mechanical parts are becoming dominant. Art is a big application withinthis technology. When looking at3D printing, there are simply so many options to choose from when creating aproduct. How it will be designed is obviously a big one, but the materialchoice is arguably more important. Just imagine being able to create virtuallyanything with virtually any kind of curves or grooves that you’d like, withinvirtually any material!