3D Printing is something that has been talked about for years, but has finally become a reality. No longer do we have to deal with flat, lifeless images printed out of ink-wasting printers and machines – but, do we know what kind of impact this new innovation will have on several industries around the world?

How Do 3D Printers Work?
It seems strange to think about. You input commands into a machine, and before you know it, you have an object that previously didn’t exist. 3D Printers use all sorts of materials, such as plastic, nylon, polyester, and metal alloys to create objects, and they really work. For example, you can print hardware tools, such as a wrench or a screwdriver. TechRepublic describes the versatility of this technology:

[…] a tremendous array of diverse items have been created via 3D printing, including toys, artwork, chocolate designs, clothing, guitars, prosthetic limbs and race cars. It’s possible to create medical-related objects; 3D printing has produced a splint to help a child breathe, a foot to help a duckling walk and a jawbone to help an elderly woman chew and speak. Human organs have even been created using 3D printers called “bioprinters” that build with living cells.

According to TechRepublic, the process used by 3D printers is called additive or digital manufacturing, and it’s easy to see why. But, just how far will 3D printing go? If we can make living, breathing cells, what else can we possibly use this technology for? Will we be able to clone whole bodies? Is this the first step toward cloning human beings? Probably not, but it’s incredible to see just how far this technology has come already.

The Repercussions
On a similar note, 3D printing will affect the world in more ways than just one. How will 3D printing disrupt the current state of manufacturing and other similar industries? Will workers be laid off in favor of the cheaper, more-efficient 3D printer? Will the prices of particular products increase or decrease, as the method of manufacturing changes? Only time will tell, but it is likely that this technology will affect everyone in one way or another.

What are your thoughts on 3D printing? Will you be using it in the future, or will you stick to the traditional methods of building things? Let us know in the comments!