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Table of Contents


What is Three Dimensional (3D) Printing?

The current uses of 3D Printing

The disruptive effects of 3D printing

Current Status



Wildlife Conservation

Automotive and Logistics


Disaster Relief

Waste Reduction




Future Impact


The impact of 3D Printing on Business


The Impact of 3D Printing on Society




Originality Report


What is Three Dimensional (3D) Printing?
3D printing refers to the printing if a virtual design that is computer aided and requires the
use of either a 3D modelling program or 3D scanner (example: Microsoft Kinect.) The
modelling program allows for new ideas to be made and the scanner for copying designs.
To date there are many techniques that may be used to print and they mainly differ in
layering methods. The diverse methods and processes of printing have been categorised
into seven ways by the American Society for testing and Material. The seven are:
1. Vat Photoplymerisation;
2. Material Jetting
3. Binder Jetting,
4. Material Extrusion
5. Powder Bed Fusion
6. Sheet Lamination
7. Directed energy deposition (3dprinting, 2016)
The current uses of 3D printing:
The future uses of 3D printing are seem unlimited and are only bound to the designers
imagination. Today we already know of hundreds of practical and daily uses that make all
industries more efficient and effective. Industries that are currently using 3D printing range
from the Fashion industry, (Tarmy, 2016) Aerospace, Education, and Dentistry to Medical.
(Stratasys, 2016)

Fashion names such as Chanel have begun to embrace the next sewing
machine revolution by using 3D printing to produce couture clothing. To date the
Met Show and Chanels and Iris van Herpen couture lines have had 3D printed
dresses. (Tarmy, 2016)

Another practical application is that of the building and architecture industries.

(Stratasys, 2016) Houses, childrens play castles, apartments and hotels have
been built using 3D printers. (Hobson, 2016)

3D printing has an array of uses that can both benefit and hurt society; there have
been cases where it is used to print weapons for example. (Tess, 2016)

3D printing has an array of uses that can both benefit and hurt society; there have
been cases where it is used to print weapons for example. (Alec, 2016)

In the Medical field 3D printing has saved lives. Prosthetic body parts, vessels,
cardiac models, medical equipment, cranium replacement and synthetic skin are
all current uses. (3dprinting, 2016)

Lastly, 3D printers can build 3D printers. RepRap is one such company replicating
the printer using itself and this allowed the resource to become an open source
one. (Mohr, 2014)

The disruptive effects of 3D printing:

As soon as 3D printers become commercialised private industries and government will
financially destabilise and they will experience economic carnage.
Mass manufacturing and Global Economy
The manufacturing and retail industries will not be able to survive the effect of anyone being
able to make anything they desire, barter and swop, copy or sell and buy from one another.
No longer will stores be needed. Other industries will also be negatively affected such as
Pharmaceuticals as well when drugs can be self-made. Large business will disappear and
innovative entrepreneurial businesses will increase. (Zurcher, 2014) The ever decreasing
price for purchasing a printer allows for inexpensive, less sternly government regulated
businesses to replace large businesses. (Grynol, 2016) The manufacturing workforce will
rapidly decline and many technical skilled jobs, craftsmanship, will no longer be needed.
(scw3dprints) The supply chain will be shortened exporting and importing will become oldfashioned.(3dprinting, 2016)
Environmental effects need improvement
There are also side effects such as pollution and hazardous material waste. Factories will
need to be regulated and these printers require a great deal of energy, thus energy sources
need to be increased.
Safety issues rise
3D printing can also be misused to a large scale. Alone this means of manufacturing is
directly harmless but when combined with robotic, AI and other developing intelligences 3D
printing poses a threat to the planet. The question of who will be responsible for the murders
by a 3D knife or gun. (Zurcher, 2014) Security, protection and safety rights will be affected
as everyone will have access to weapons.

Laws need adapting on Global scale

This will then affect the government as millions in taxes that come from these industries will
be less or none at all. Alternative sources of income and laws will need to establish to
moderate this change in the commercial industries alone. Intellectual property laws and
trademark are will need to be revisited. (Zurcher, 2014)

Firstly what is three dimensional printing? Three dimensional printing, also known as additive
manufacturing, according to (What is 3D printing?: 3d printing) Is the process of making a
three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. In the process the object is created by
laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created.
Many countries and organisations are making use of three dimensional printing in their
manufacturing process. In this section of the assignment we will give examples of some of
these countries and organisations and discuss the current status of three dimensional
printing in terms of the diffusion of innovation theory developed by EM Rogers.
Lamborghini is a very well-known car manufacturer. They are known for their high
performance cars and excellent quality. They have recently teamed up with University of
Washington to manufacture their flagship motor vehicle the Lamborghini Aventador.
Lamborghini wanted to make their new car lighter and faster than their previous car while
sticking to their budget. The results were very good. They had a 9% power improvement, as
well as a 20% improvement on the fuel efficiency and a 6% decrease in the weight of the
car. The process was very cost effective as well. The table below shows the cost savings.



Traditional process

$40 000

120 days

FDM technology


20 days


$36 910 (92%)

12 days (80%)

Lamborghini is one of the early adopters of this technology. Their whole car is not made by
the three dimensional printer is only parts of it; however this is just the beginning of a whole
new manufacturing process for the automotive industry (Dehue, 2012).
The aerospace industry has also made a breakthrough in the use of three dimensional
printing. NASA has been working on using three dimensional printing to print an entire rocket
engine. During December last year their test was successful. Using three dimensional
printing in the manufacturing of rocket engines has many advantages. The components that
makes up a rocket engine are very complex and have to work with high levels of pressure
therefore it is important that the shapes of the components are very precise. Three
dimensional printed rocket parts that are made well can be produced without the need for
welds or joins, and could even be designed to be more optimal for aerodynamics or fuel flow
(Eaton, 2015). There are however disadvantages as well. In this process NASA uses a laser
three dimensional printer that operates at very high temperatures. The material that is being
used is copper; this is why the laser printer is being used. Copper is very good at conducting

heat. Thats why copper is the best material for lining an engine combustion chamber and for
other parts as well, but this property makes additive manufacturing of copper difficult
because the laser has difficulty continuously melting the copper. This in turn makes the
process very long however it is still more cost effective. Therefore the only drawback is the
amount of time it takes to manufacture the engine (Young, 2015). NASA is the first
aerospace company to make use of three dimensional printing for manufacturing a
combustion engine. They are therefore innovators in terms of diffusion of innovation theory.
However they are not the first aerospace company to make use of three dimensional printing
technologies in the aerospace industry.
In 2015 Nike was granted a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for
three dimensional printing technologies in the manufacturing of shoes. Nike does not print
the whole shoe; it prints the lower section of the shoe. More specifically it is for automated
Strobel, the best way a shoe could be lasted, printing. In this process the shoes upper is
fixed to its midsole. According to Nike the patent will not fundamentally change the way they
make shoes it will enhance and update their current process. Nike is planning for the future
to rather sell people a design file with this file people will be able to print their shoes at
home. This does raise concern in terms of job security within the manufacturing process.
However Nike says it is still a long way from achieving this goal (Nelson, 2015). Within the
shoe industry, in terms of diffusion of innovation theory, Nike is innovators as they are the
first to receive a patent for this process and they are already using it in the production
The United States of America is working on something very interesting. More specifically the
army is working on ways to use three dimensional printing to customise military meals.
These meals are known as MREs (Meal, ready-to-eat). They are used in the field, war, to
provide soldiers with their daily nutritions on the go. This technology is still in development it
is expected to be for deployment in 2025. This technology will combine wearable technology
that can measure the soldiers physiology and their nutrient needs. This data will be sent to
the base camp or a quickly set up kitchen in the area with many food three dimensional
printers. In todays technology food items such as peanut butter filled protein bar covered
with chocolate can be printed within a half an hour. However as the technology gets better
the printing time will be faster (Grunewald, 2016). In terms of the diffusion of innovation
theory the US army are innovators as they are the first people to use three dimensional
printing in this way.
Three dimensional printing did not take off very fast on the African continent. South Africa
may just be the exception. A South African company called RS Components SA provides a

wide range of three dimensional printers for sale. It can be for personal use or even
industrial use. The company says that the South African market is adopting slow however it
is being used in the engineering and manufacturing industries. It is also used in education. In
the Sasol Solar Challenge the University of Johannesburg used three dimensional printing to
make some of the parts on their car (Seequs, 2015). In terms of diffusion of innovation
theory South Africa is part of the early majority when it comes to using this technology.
Many people do not know that three dimensional printing has been around since the 1980s.
In this regard it could be said that in terms of the diffusion of innovation theory the whole
world is part of the late majority because the technology has been around for over twenty
years and is now only starting to take off now.

The environmental benefits of 3D printing are able to transform traditional manufacturing in
the following ways:
cost reductions
energy saving
reduced carbon dioxide emissions (Hardcastle. 2015)
Traditional manufacturing procedures use subtractive manufacturing, which means that
there are more materials than needed to produce products, 3D printing is additive
manufacturing which involves only using the materials that are needed and no more, building
objects layer by layer. (Hardcastle. 2015)
Products are now able to be designed and produced at the point of sale. This has the
potential to revolutionize supply chain management and reduce costs involved. (Hardcastle.

Wildlife Conservation Unamanned Aerial Vehicle Challenge (wcUAVc): Many rhinos

and elephants are being poached in South Africas Kruger National Park. The
wcUAVc has begun an initiative using 3D printing to deploy 3D printed drones to
monitor the park and catch these poachers before they are able to strike

Biotech start--up Pembient manufactures and vends artificial rhinoceros horns,

seeking to control poaching: Even though strict laws and legislations have been put
in place, poaching still occurs. Biotech startup Pembient has developed a
rhinoceros horn, using 3D printing, with similar properties to real rhinoceros horns to
sell at a fraction of the cost that real horns would be sold for.

Artificial limbs: Animals endure great distress when one or more of their limbs are
severed or injured in some way. 3D printing allows for the modelling and replacing of
real animal limbs so that these crippled animals may once again function as desired.
For example, beaks and shells have been printed for birds and tortoises. (Kira. 2014)


BMW uses 3D printing to produce ergonomic and more efficient tools for
manufacturing vehicles.

Ford creates intricate moulds in a fraction of the price and time. Ford uses 3D
printing to develop sand printing moulds which are inexpensive and easy to produce.
This process saves the company millions of dollars each year.

UPS is creating smaller factories with 3D printers to reduce inventories and produce
parts on demand. (Frost and Sullivan. 2016)

The major benefits for using 3D printing in Aerospace Industry are as follows:
Complex designs
Weight reduction
Improved strength and durability
Financial savings (3D Engineer, 2016)

NASA uses 3D printing to build futuristic rovers to support humans in exploring other
worlds, exploration ventures include asteroids and their ultimate goal is to explore
Mars. (3D Engineer, 2016)

CPI Aero, Inc. (CPI) designs and produces physical components for military and
commercial aircraft. 3D printing has made it possible to produce these components
at a lower cost and in less time. (3D Engineer, 2016)

3D printing is changing the way people produce things. 3D printing can help people after
they have experienced a humanitarian crisis, here are the reasons why:
They are low cost.
Structures are easily modified and corrected.
They are portable. (Guardian News and Media Limited. 2016)

Field Ready is joining forces with World Vision on a modernisation lab in Nepal. They
are working on a supplies catalogue for aid agencies whereby they use 3D printers to
develop items such as water pipe fittings to improve the day to day functioning of
people who are bearing the consequences of natural disasters. (Guardian News and
Media Limited. 2016)

Architects in Amsterdam are constructing a 3D-printed house. These establishments

are being developed in the hopes of one day being able to assist those that have

experienced natural disasters in rebuilding their lives by providing them with a readily
available shelter. (Guardian News and Media Limited. 2016)

There is the possibility of a decreased level of greenhouse gasses being emitted due
to the reduced number of shipping as products are now able to be manufactured on
3D printing does in fact produce new recycling problems but it has a great potential to
combat waste. (EcoMENA. 2015)

Refil is a company using an industrial process to grind old and unused car
dashboards to recycle them into 3D-printable filament. (EcoMENA. 2015)

3D Fuel, a 3D printing company, has teamed up with a company that owns algaepolymer technology to harvest process algae to make a filament called Solasplast
that is used in 3D printing. (EcoMENA. 2015)

3DOM teamed with C2renew to develop a filament made out of used coffee grinds.
(EcoMENA. 2015)

3DPrintlife and Sierra Resins use the plastics broken down by bacteria in landfills to
manufacture filaments. (EcoMENA. 2015)

Individuals in need of prosthetics are now able to receive them quicker and at a more
affordable cost through 3D printing.
The main benefits of 3D printing include:
Cost: cheaper than traditional prosthetics.
Speed: produced onsite.
Versatility: easily customized.
Growth: easily replaceable for growing children.
Comfort: 3D printed sockets are far superior to traditional prosthetic sockets.

53 year old Jose Delgado Jr. was born without a left hand. He has much experience
with different types of prosthetics. He has opted for the 3D printed artificial hand due
to its lower cost and more comfortable socket. (Krassenstein. 22016



3D Printing will take over manufacturing and lengthy jobs of people as large 3D printers will
be used in building houses and in many secondary sector industries. This will reduce the
amount of jobs available in the country the jobs of people who are build houses since 3D
printers can build houses within ten hours. This benefits the country because of its minimum
time characteristic, and when there are any earthquakes and other such natural hazards,
this will be key in helping those people who have lost their homes. It will also reshape the job
requirements, where both job technician level and higher skilled positions are going to be
In the Retail Industry, 3D printing will take a large part in the production of products as
manufacturers will be able to add more customization in the production process. The
manufacturing of clothes and food will be affected, the colours and shapes of food will be
customizable and there will be speedy delivery of products to consumers. This technology
can affect poverty positively by decreasing it of a country even if a drought or flood occurs.
3D Printers in regards to future cars, here a great deal of change will occur for anyone that
drives. This will benefit business people since they will be in the autonomous car which has
a screen, full space and table around, which could help when they are having meetings
while travelling in the car. With more applications technology with infrared and radar
scanning, also sleeper cars will become available for the long journeys where you will set off
at night and can tuck yourself into the bed.


Healthcare-bioprinters have the ability to print living organisms and

can be used to scan

wounds and scan cells, these printers can repair organs inside the body without needing
them to be removed. A prosthetic device and cosmetic printer (face printer) are used to
repair, print and scan. The method used to repair skin requires existing flesh to be
evaporated and replaced by new cells which produces skin that look healthier than the
original skin. Prosthesis allows knee replacement using a device that is customized for that
patient; this process makes it more comfortable to wear and reduces the risks of infections
or other complications. This also reduces operation time, expenses and patients heal faster.
Bioprinting lessens long transplant waiting lists and improves the chances of the patient
being helped and finding a perfect match.
Personal interactions will be reduced, with fewer of those unexpected chats and
conversations which are mostly important in building strong communications with the people
around you. So in the end people will end up becoming strangers to one another. This takes

out mass personalisation and many companies will be able to make ones belongings for
people without the huge cost of humans being involved. They can then claim things as their
own before they buy them and this allows people to make their home a working place.


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