Experts Say 2014 is Year of 3D Printing - - ABC13

Experts Say 2014 is Year of 3D Printing


Roanoke, VA – Experts say 2014 is the year of 3D printing.

Almost all the research shows that 3D printers, in coming years, will be a standard in a majority of households.

3D printers go layer by layer.

It precisely lays plastic that is slowly becoming a tangible product.

"They are able to print whatever they need and just purchase it from someone," said Dave Webb of Virginia Western Community College. "Purchase the idea or the model."

3D printing has been part of VWCC for a decade now.

Webb runs many of the classes that use this technology and agrees with the experts that this is its year.

"I agree it is the year of them because prices have come down to where it's almost for home use," he said.

While plastic filament is the most used material, metal, wood, even human cells are being printed into working organs.

Not quite what Webb's students work on.

They create projects like a cell phone holder that can be mounted to a bike.

The big impact on society will come as people realize they can actually make or even fix things that would have otherwise ended up in the trash.

"You could order the model from the company," Webb said. "They would send it to you through your email; load it into your machine and actually print it out at your home. So it's online ordering of parts in some cases."

Prices on 3D printers have come down to relatively affordable levels, some as low as 12-hundred bucks.

And several major retailers, like Staples, are now carrying these products.

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