To print an object in 3D the user must first make a digital model, which requires technical expertise that beginners do not have.
The complexity and subsequent capabilities of 3D modelling software vary depending on the sector (industry, design, research, architecture, etc.). Yet more accessible software programs are being developed for private individuals interested in 3D printing.
According to Albane Imbert, head of the Making Lab of the Francis Crick Institute, modelling software programs are likely to become increasingly complex and specialised with simpler, more intuitive, interfaces.
As the popularity of 3D printing increases, so does the potential risk of counterfeit digital models, as well as an increase in generalised production and exchange of 3D models.
3D printing provides many advantages for industry: digitisation and decentralisation of production, product customisation and optimisation of inventory management, to name a few.
But there are still a number of shortcomings that stand in the way of its widespread use: price per unit, scarcity of materials and sometimes limited reliability.
Arkema has therefore developed a new continuous-fiber 3D printing technology with start-up company Continuous Composites to make this production method more sustainable, in particular by reducing costs and waste.
Annalisa Plaitano develops projects for the popularisation of science and teaches scientific communication at the Sorbonne University and the University of Evry. She trains doctoral students in communication at the universities of Nanterre, Grenoble and others, and writes for La Recherche, Sciences et Avenir, Cosinus, Causette, Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics. She is a member of the association Femmes & Sciences.