The world of printing has come a long way since the 1300s, when block printing to decorate fabric began to be common throughout the world. Using similar ideas, Gutenberg established the forerunner to the modern printing press in the 15th century, using blocked letters and ink to churn out multiple copies of the same document. Over 500 years later, printing became a household function and affordable tools such as toner cartridges and personal printers revolutionized publishing, communications, and print media.

Today, a new technology is allowing businesses to do more than print pages with Brother toner cartridges. Those who can afford the technology can actually print three-dimensional items using a state-of-the-art device that lays down carbon according to the mold or pattern of the original item. The technology is creating excitement, especially among those that dream of creating their own jewelry or gourmet food, but it doesn’t actually work like that.

The printer creates a copy of the item, but it is all in one material and all one color, so it loses functional and value aspects associated with the original materials. You can compare it to printing color images with black Brother toner cartridges. The outcome is not the same as the original.

This doesn’t mean the technology isn’t useful. In fact, there are a number of manufacturing businesses that may be able to use three-dimensional printing to increase output and drive down costs. Here is a look at four industries that could use 3D printing.

  • Toy manufacturers that create inexpensive and simple items, such as those found in fast food kids’ meals, could use the printer to create many of those items. They could be painted in a later part of the manufacturing process.
  • Companies could create rare or out-dated parts, like gears, and sell them to people who want to fix up old cars, industrial equipment, or appliances.
  • Factories that create mechanical parts that do not rely on conductivity or other properties can use the printers to churn out pieces without regard to available resources.
  • Design and development companies may be able to create models of non-existing items based on programming, allowing for a reduction in development costs in the future.

At this point in time, 3D printing technology is extremely expensive with very limited access. In the future, however, the printers could become as available as Brother toner cartridges, allowing homeowners to create their own simple products and solve issues like missing construction parts by pressing a button on their printer.