Embrace the future of 3D printing or get left behind

The future of 3D printing is changing and businesses need to explore the possibilities or risk being left behind.

That is the message Griffith University Industrial Design expert Dr Jennifer Loy will relay to Gold Coast businesses at a ‘Mastering 3D Printing’ forum hosted by Griffith University and the Queensland Manufacturing Institute on November 24. The forum is followed by a Master Class and professional development workshops on November 25th. It is a change in technology and innovation that is enabling businesses to create products not previously possible, says Dr Loy.

It’s not always easy to predict where technology will take us

“In some ways, this technology has crept up on us,” she says, “because we’ve been using 3D printing as a prototyping technology for so long.”

Jen Loy Photo 3D Print (1)
Professor Jennifer Loy suggests that 3D printing is a change in technology and innovation that is enabling businesses to create products not previously possible.

“It is only recently that developments in technology and materials have allowed us to create end use products through direct manufacturing.

“However, if we look at 3D printing in the context of the digital revolution – the internet, data generation and manipulation and many more digital developments, there has been a whole shift in business practice thinking made possible by the technology.”

Dr Loy says the forum builds on the work of earlier forums to go beyond the basics. It aims to support start-ups and small to medium businesses looking to make the most of digital technologies, and in particular 3D printing.

“Businesses need to be open to rethinking customer relationships and product possibilities made possible by 3D printing technology – even if it is hard to imagine what those possibilities would look like,” the Associate Professor says.

“It’s not always easy to predict where technology will take us – with early computers there was scepticism that we would ever want computers in our homes. My main one was in 1996 when I was asked if I wanted email, and I remember wondering what on earth would I write in an email!

“Sometimes it is hard to keep up with what is happening and simply what is possible.”

3D printed jewellery designed by David Haggerty
3D printed jewellery designed by David Haggerty

Dr Loy said Griffith and the Gold Coast 3D design industry wants to play a significant role in making sure Australia, and in particular the Gold Coast, don’t get left behind in developing applications for this technology. An example of innovative thinking currently being used in Brisbane is a company scanning feet to custom-make orthotics for shoes, whilst in the creative industries a world first 3D printed wedding dress has been designed in a collaboration between Griffith’s Queensland College of Art, Fashion Designer Melinda Looi and 3D printing company, Materialise. It was printed in Malaysia from a model’s measurements generated from a scan of a model in Italy. Medical applications are particularly relevant because the digital technologies allow for accurate customisation.

“The possibilities are endless,” says Dr Loy.

Know More: Griffith School of Engineering

To register your interest in the 3D printing forum or for more information see here.

Dr Loy will also hold a free webinar titled The 3D printing disruption: Opportunities for SMEs on October 29. For more information visit the Queensland Chamber of Commerce website.