In the last few years, 3D printing has taken some massive steps forward. From something that would only be available to the tech-savvy few, 3D printers are now revolutionizing the way we build things. And there could be no 3D printing news more massive, both literally and figuratively, than a new 3D printer being developed in China, which will be able to produce “heavy metal components with a maximum diameter of 6 m and weighing up to 300 tons.” The printer itself is fairly large (28 meters long, 23 meters wide, and 9.5 meters high, in fact), hardly something that you could put on your counter and use as you will like the Imaginator 3D printer. But then, I imagine most of us aren’t producing our own airplanes.
There have already been printers that could manufacture houses, though only on a small scale at this point. By small scale, I mean that these houses have a small square footage, not that they are tiny houses. Yes, there are in fact 3D printers that can make a one story house. Which people can then live in. The technology is amazing and, with what we already know about 3D printing and customization, very promising. It means that, even with the most basic of plans, someone could produce the exact house that they want, adding a touch of individuality to existing designs.
The printer mentioned above has been used largely to create components for planes–both fighter jets and transport vessels. But it is a significant development, since it shows the amazing versatility of 3D printing, from creating small and completely customized hearing aides, to massive and very complex components.