From fashion designers to aerospace engineers, 3D printing is transforming the way products are designed, tested and created. The technology was invented in the 1980s, but largely used to create prototypes from weaker materials. It wasn’t until the expiration of a crucial patent seven years ago that 3D printing really started to emerge as a tool that could transform manufacturing. Today, many are hailing it as a key component of a new industrial revolution. But experts claim another change could still transform the industry.
That change is being driven by cloud-based software. By building up complex shapes, layer by layer, 3D printing is able to create intricate, bespoke designs far easier and at a much lower cost than traditional manufacturing techniques. By its very nature, it offers a collaborative approach to creating product designs. With the help of the cloud, anyone with an internet connection can create, adjust store and stream designs to 3D printers anywhere in the world. Many believe the technology could help open up 3D printing for the wider population.