3D Printing

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.

The second way that web design can be used in 3D printing is to design the actual digital models for 3D printing. Programs such as OpenJSCAD which allows the designing of 3D models in JavaScript (Hanselman, 2015). This allows websites to actually create custom designed 3D objects for 3D printing. There also may be commercial online programs that in the future would allow you to get a custom item shipped to you from a company if you do not have a 3D printer.

Whether using 3D printing to print predesigned items that a customer buys in order to print or having online software to design custom 3D printed items web design is necessary. Things like having code to send patterns directly from a website to a 3D printer or code to slightly alter a 3d model so it will work in a given 3D printer will have to be implemented on e-commerce sites that want to use customer’s 3D printers. This will cause many companies to want more interactive websites for their customers so that they can buy and create their own custom creations.

De Waele, R. (2014, September 18). How 3D Printing Will Impact Your Future. Retrieved February 06, 2017, from https://thenextweb.com/dd/2014/09/20/3d-printing-will-impact-future-rundown-companies-keep-eyes/ Hanselman, S. (2015, February 01). Creating exact 3D Models for 3D Printing with JavaScript and OpenJSCAD. Retrieved February 06, 2017, from http://www.hanselman.com/blog/CreatingExact3DModelsFor3DPrintingWithJavaScriptAndOpenJSCAD.aspx C. C. (2016, March 14). How 3D Printing Will Impact the Web. Retrieved February 06, 2017, from https://designmodo.com/3d-printing/