Could 3D Printing Be The Future of Technology?

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(KNOE 8 News) - "put it all together and it'll start flying."

Courtesy KNOE

Zack Kent didn't make this drone.

"we'll have a little propeller on it and it will sit out here and just start flying."

He printed it, 3D printed it in fact.

"We'll have some electrical components sitting down in here they're going to basically be the brains of the drone."

3D printing is becoming trendier by the minute.

Forbes magazine says it's a 5-billion dollar a year industry that just keeps growing.

Kent says that's because it's easy, quick, and precise.

"Basically it allows you to create anything out of nowhere."

But how do these printers work?

"You draw whatever you want and then you convert it to a file that will talk to the 3D printers," Kent Said.

"It basically is a roll of plastic filament that is heated up and is extruded onto a surface in a pattern and the pattern over time builds up layer by layer into an object that you have modeled," Said Kelly Crittenden, a Professor at Louisiana Tech. "you can have access to technology that was limited before."

He says 3D printing is the future, and because of that he has all his students learn how to use them.

"I can use a printer that can print metal parts to create complex geometry for a jet rocket possibly," Crittenden Said.

The same is true at ULM. Paul Karlowitz says its all about having fun and hands on learning for students.

"You can really print anything you can think of," He Said. "it's all about having your students get into new technology. it's a tool."

Crittenden says these printers could add real value to society in the future.

"People will print cell phone cases, they'll print door stops, they'll print stuff more to explore the technology than to print the thing."

Tony Fulco says the only problem is that the size of these printers are too small

"Your limited to size and detail because there's only a limited amount of film the printer can print out."

But changing what the printers are capable of doing can open up a whole new world of technology.

"Can we make 3D printing fast enough, and affordable enough to replace some of the manufacturing processes out there," Crittenden Said.

For now its all about having fun and using your imagination.