When considering 3D printing and its impact in web development it is important to answer two questions. What is 3D printing? How can websites use 3D printing? These are the questions that will be answered, while considering web development.
3D printing “takes what you see on a screen and prints it as a real-life item” (Cousins, 2013). If printing is putting ink to paper then 3D printing is a “manufacturing process” rather than true printing (Cousins, 2013). 3D printing has quickly advanced by 2014 3D printing was being used for the creation of robots and even architecture (De Waele, 2014). It is also 3D printed custom super heroes and art (De Waele, 2014). These uses of 3D printing are the tip of the iceberg, this great technology has been in use for several years and will continue to be used in time to come.
Although there would be very little difference in how a web page is designed for a company that uses 3D printing and then ships the items to their customers, there are two major ways that websites can use 3D printing. One is in the area of instant commerce. Such websites can be designed to print out purchases on a customer’s 3D printer after it is paid for (Cousins, 2013). This would create a low overhead for the company which only has to design and test the product not to actually manufacture everyone sold. Also, it would result in no shipping time giving the buyer a quicker turn around on online ordering.