3D printing has already been heralded as the future of manufacturing on demand and designing in less time with less waste. But the way 3D printing affects design may go even deeper, changing the way we look at the shape of objects and perfecting them to an extraordinary degree that was not possible previously due to how expensive it is to create them. According to an article in Reuters, 3D printing breaks down barriers allowing technology and form to meld together on a new level.
From the Reuters article:
Already, well over 90 percent of in-the-ear hearing aids are made using 3D printing, and that lets clever software which can work out exactly how to optimize the acoustic properties of the hearing aid into the manufacturing process.Switzerland-based Sonova (SOON.VX), a leading maker of hearing aids, is now using graphics software to modify the shape of the device once it has been scanned, improving its physical fit to the individual ear canal, and its acoustic qualities.
That's all thanks to 3D printing, as this couldn't be done cost-efficiently before.
It also is forcing designers to look carefully at what you can and cannot print -- and the list of cannots includes most of the products we already have on the market. That means product design is about to get an overhaul to accommodate the ability to produce goods with 3D printers. Read more about the way 3D printing is improving the ability of designers on Reuters.