(Above) A 3D printer on display at the Anybook Oxford Libraries Conference in 2015. Image Source: Karen Blakeman @ Flickr.
Perhaps 30 years ago, three dimensional (3D) printing seemed to be a thing that would only appear in science fiction movies.
These days however, 3D printing has been gaining momentum globally and in Sarawak it has been made available to a wider audience through TEGAS Digital Innovation Hub and the Digital Economy Hub (DEH) for commercial uses.
For those who want to learn more about the process, there are various websites that offer online courses on 3D printing to create digital designs and turn them into physical objects.
In line with Sarawak’s vision of developing a digital economy, 3D printing could be a good platform to promote innovation and creativity, especially among youths.
Essentially, 3D printing is achieved through a method known as additive printing; it is an interesting piece of innovation that works by ‘printing’ objects using materials such as rubber or metal instead of ink.
It is a process of making three-dimensional objects from digital image by adding successive layers of materials until the final object is created.
According to some reports, the potential for 3D printing is highest in the automotive and aerospace industries for product development and prototyping.
Although popular with the big companies in those industries, some might wonder how it’s going to be relevant for everyday use by the masses.
Actually, the potential uses of 3D printing are endless, as it has now managed to infiltrate almost every industry at some capacity such as arts and design, manufacturing, education and research.
For instance, in the healthcare sector, 3D printing provides a platform for emerging research areas including muscle and organ printing.
Besides commercial industries, 3D printing is now paving its way towards education as some educators found that 3D printing to be an engaging and interactive tool among their students.
This ability to produce objects in 3D form is revolutionising the way people learn and even teach.
For instance, 3D printers can be used in geography courses to print out maps showing the topography of an area.
Apart from that, engineering and design students could create 3D versions of their prototypes, while medical science students might find learning to be more interesting when they can study cross sections of internal organs or molecules by using 3D models.
Globally, there is a tremendous increase in the number of people using 3D printing and as such it would be a valuable skill to be familiar with, regardless of what field you decide to enter in the future.
This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, March 17, 2018.