Not too long ago 3D printing was only a science fiction dream. As a matter of fact, when I started Bit Rebels 7 years ago the technology did hardly exist at all. Now everyone is using it, and it’s getting more advanced for each day that passes by. 3D printing is changing a lot of industries and continues to change lives all over the world. The latest in 3D printing is somewhat of an exciting progression. When Disney combined 3D printing with vacuum forming a new type of 3D printing technology was born.
The new technology is called Computational Thermoforming and is capable of printing almost anything your mind can conjure up. The new algorithm combined with computer imaging, both developed by Disney researchers, are capable of producing incredibly detailed and complex 3D printed objects.
Each mold is computer controlled and can match the 3D object created on a computer down to the finest detail. Even though I don’t know how the technology works exactly, it looks like the technology uses thin rods (possibly air) that match the elevation of the 3D model exactly. This creates a fine-detailed mold over which the heated plastic can be formed.
The technology is a step closer to instant 3D printing technology. It could even pave the way for more sophisticated and creative 3D prints in the future. For now, the final prints are hollow. This is something that ordinary 3D printing does not have to battle with. But then again, this new 3D printing technology is in its infancy and could become superior to any other 3D printing technology real fast.
There is no doubt in my mind that 3D printing is the way of the future and that we are going to be surrounded by services using 3D printing as a delivery method. Food, material things, everything! When that finally happens is really anyone’s guess. But, when you look at the progression that 3D printing has had over the last few years it’s quite evident that the technology is here to stay.
What do you think? Will Disney be the first company to 3D print a roller coaster? Let us know in the comment section below.