This was the first time I saw a 3D printing machine. The American Center at Kolkata had a session where demonstration and use of a 3D model was presented. It was amazing. There were so many wonders of 3D printing. From chocolates, buildings, automobile industry, films as well as medicine, all used 3D printing. While all the interesting things about 3D printing were being discussed I watched the machine at work slowly layer by layer printing the World Trade Center. It was fascinating to watch the model being built. The videos on how 3D printing was used to make chocolates were quite a feast to the eye. Similarly how 3D printing was used in medical science especially in the field of Dentistry was unique. In our own city dental prosthesis to stents for the heart were in use using 3D printing. I did read about the 14 year-old boy with four heart defects who was successfully operated just once to take care of the repair based on the 3D printed Model of his heart using images from his CT scan. Doctors of Kosair Children’s Hospital partnered with colleagues from Louisville to make this a success.

It was interesting to also watch how 3D printing was used to build houses very quickly and efficiently using this technology. Most of us are aware of 3D printing in films where it is used to make models of cars and objects which are then filmed in action. The uses and wide application of 3D printing seem to be diverse and had application in each and every area.

Hasbro uses 3D printing as it offers to bring new experiences with toys for the children. 3D Systems, the company that first commercialized 3D printing has also partnered with Hershey’s make a 3D printer and other edible products. The application and use of 3D printing goes far and wide as long as you can make your imagination work. Only the materials used for printing change, but the design applications can be stretched as far as the imagination goes. This tech talk was an eye opener to all possibilities of 3D printing. Though it looked so easy to do, there is a technique and learning that makes bridges, buildings, chocolates, clothes or stents easy to make.

A team of MIT and Cornell engineers created a company that wants to make 3D printers easier to use so they will be more quickly accepted by the average consumer. It is no longer news that a Chinese company WinSun has successfully 3D printed a five-storey apartment building and a 1,100 square meter villa from a special print material. The company has claimed to have printed 10 houses in 24 hours. This shows how cost-effective and easy to use 3D printing is.

The US Consulate in association with MakersLoft in Kolkata made the July 7th evening a very educational and inspirational experience.