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Before the term 3D printing was used, the idea and concept had been prophesied—in science fictions though. Such unbelievable technology that seemed to appear only in imaginary universe had become reality. People must be thrill about it, in 1981. (Yes, it was brought to this world almost 40 years ago. Earlier than you thought, right?) However, it was not until 21 century that the application and related products of 3D printing technology got caught in the spot light of attention.

Originally, the additive manufacturing was used for prototyping for developing design and then to assist moulding for manufacturing. Forming complex geometrical structures, which are almost impossible for traditional manufacturing to process, is the strength of 3D printing, satisfying the needs of customization market rather than replacing traditional manufacturing methods.

Materials are the ultimate issue of all industry. From stone, ceramic, wood, cement, metal of ancient ages to plastic and compounds today, we extracted and fused them by chemistry, physics, electromagnetic and all science we know. 3D printing technology itself did not brought about stunning new materials, but giving a pushing hand for scientist to search for new materials for making the best use of this technology. Aerospace devices, sustainable furniture, architecture and even blood vessels printed with alloy, wood filament, concrete, biocompatible fabrics or living tissues are roads derived from this technology, and stretched forward to ends we cannot foresee.

Alright, I know you had enough with plastics and metals. Let’s talk about cakes. 3D printed desserts are another application of materials. Trust me, a mille-feuille might be a better choice than a chiffon cake. Since the batter will be extruded and baked layer by layer, the light and airy texture of chiffon cake will be flat and crunchy. This application kind of exposed all the weakness of 3D printing like layer lines, durability, support materials and hardening problems of special materials. The innate disadvantage and obstacles left to be overcome.

Time, or say luck, is essential for all new technologies to become ripe in both software and hardware. 3D printing is a revolutionary technology that takes time to evolve. Researchers, engineers and designers of all fields are devoted to exploring its potential and possibilities and the efforts are now put in developing approaches for the application and consolidation of more materials.

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