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3D Printing On the Go - Could it be Possible?

01 June 2017 - 12:51

Aishath Sajuha

Travel enthusiast, amateur artist and blogger.

From an edible raspberry to a body part, all you need is a 3D printer and anything and everything could be yours for the making. Manufacturing advances are now ballyhooing 3D Printing. 

However, for travelers this process seems particularly convincing. 

How so you ask?

Why drag around a suitcase filled with your entire apartment while you travel, when you could just simply print out whatever you need when you have arrived to the desired destination? Just a thought of Janne Kyttenen, the Finnish artist who designed an entire outfit from the dress to the shoes to the bag – all produced via a 3D Printer – and was exhibited at the Rotterdam’s Galerie VIVID this spring and was called “Lost Luggage”.

“If you feel like going to Paris, then you just leave and go. You don’t have to go home and think of what you’re going to pack,” He mentioned “It’s like a futuristic dream world.”

Currently, taking such a futuristic step could make a little economic or practical sense. 3D printers are rather costly, with the cheapest starting at about 500 dollars, so does the materials which initially costs around 50 to 500 dollars per kilogram.  

Typical printers can only just print one material at a time, which limits the variety of the items that can be produced. Updating these files could be daunting for those who are technologically challenged as the process isn’t immediate, and is still a manufacturing process – printing could go on for hours. 

Managing Director of 3D printing consultancy Econolyst has said that;

“It’s not as simple as pressing a button and getting a product,”

“It is just another manufacturing technology, that's all. Yes, it’s quite clever, and yes, it’s quite flexible, but it doesn't materialize things out of nowhere.”

He even pointed out that, you might just as well simply catch a flight with no luggage and buy all of your items on the cheap once you arrive – traditional manufacturing methods still remain inexpensive.

Reeves also mentioned in reference to what Kyttanen had envisioned, that it could be used for much personalized items.

Basically, the main advantage of 3D printing is that you will have the ability to make a variety of individually customized items at the similar cost to making multiple, identical replicas. 

Furthermore, 3D printing is already affecting travelers in less obvious ways. For example in March, Airbus announced that there next-generation A350 XWB would be using a handful of 3D printed components. 

Traditional manufacturing process means cutting solid blocks to the desired shape or even casting moulds, however with 3D printing, it is easier to create hollow and complicated components with less waste – which weighs less and requires fewer raw materials. Significantly decreasing the energy consumption of the manufacturing process – making planes lighter and decreasing duel consumption.

In Addition, creative minds like that of Kyttanen are looking forward to a time, where you can print all your luggage at your destination, every detail to your specification. It may be a few a years in the future, but who knows. 

Even if experts warn this wouldnt happen in even a decade, there is no harm in hoping for it to happen. 

Just like Kyttanen mentioned.

“It took us only 10 years to wire the entire planet with broadband internet,”

“It’s inevitable that it’s going to happen.”

We never know whats in store for us!


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