Note: This article is part of KOVAL’s “Innovation Month.” While KOVAL continues to change the way people think about whiskey, we're highlighting thinkers, technologists, entrepreneurs, designers, organizations, and brands that we believe are streamlining the future of how the world works.
In modern culture, there are two existing worlds. First, there’s the physical world—the one we live on, breath on, and experience every day. In the last half a century, though, we’ve also created another place—a virtual one—in which we communicate, store information, and advance technology.
3D printing brings these two worlds together in a really exciting way. Not dissimilarly to how the internet changed the way we relate to information, 3D printing is altering the way we manufacture.
Last week, we stopped into their office—a bright, colorful, and dynamic workspace—just north of the Chicago River downtown to learn more about what they do and how 3D printing works.
What it is
To sum it up, 3D printing is a way of making three-dimensional objects from a digital file.
How it works
The process begins with a virtual design created in a Computer Aided Design (CAD) file either with a 3D modeling program (for new objects) or with a 3D scanner (to copy existing objects) that then makes a 3D digital copy and places it in a 3D modeling program.
From there, the software separates the design into very thinly sliced horizontal layers (the pile of layers can be in the thousands). After this updated file is uploaded in the 3D printer, the printer reads every slice (2D image) and produces the object layer by layer, blending them together and eventually creating one complete 3D object.
A 3D printed KOVAL barrel shot glass from the 3D Printer Experience
Why it maters
3D printing has the potential to transform several industries from medicine to engineering to archeology. In recent years, medical professionals have used the technology to manufacture hearing aids, leg braces, a titanium jaw, and more.
Other groundbreaking applications have included reconstructing fossils in paleontology, replicating ancient and priceless artifacts in archeology, and reconstructing bones in forensic pathology.
The opportunities are seemingly endless.
The 3D Printer Experience
3D Printer Experience Founder Julie Steele
With such an impactful advancement in technology, a certain amount of responsibility is involved. The 3D Printer Experience understands this, and helps to provide training, access, and community to people of all backgrounds to educate interested parties in using this technology only in the way it was intended—to advance the world for the better.
We'll have a tasting table set up at the 3D Printer Experience's Happy Hour this Friday, May 8th at 6:00pm. We're thrilled to learn more about the technology and excited to watch a KOVAL object get scanned in 3D (that you can take home)! Tickets and more information.
All photos c/o The 3D Printer Experience