Computer software programs have drastically simplified this process. Instead of going to the laborious task of retyping the entire text, you just have to click a mouse, hit a few keys and reprint. If only it were that simple to do with 3D objects. Oh wait, with 3D Printing it is. Similar to the way that computers have changed the way that people edit photos, texts, posters, etc., 3D Printing software has made it easier than ever to do the same with 3D objects. Just design an object on your computer and print it out. If you decide later that you want to change the design, you can go back to your computer, make the change and reprint. This is much easier than other manufacturing practices where you would have to completely start from scratch.
How the 2D Printing Industry Went DigitalAt Materialise we are quite familiar with this story, and our software marketing manager, Bart Dupon, is seasoned in both 2D printing and 3D printing. His career has led him through changes in both fields and he has seen the parallels in the paths these industries have taken. Software programs such as Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, which make it easy to edit photos, posters, designs, etc., have become incredibly widespread today. However, back in 1989 when Bart Dupon was an advertisement and marketing graduate fresh out of school, these programs did not exist yet. Two programs that were around were Page Maker 1.0 and Draw 1.0 and they were installed on the Mac CI at his first job at an advertisement company of just over 60 people.
The entire graphic production team was 300% faster with a third of the amount of people. It was no doubt that there was an evolution in the field of graphic design and that software was the catalyst.
2D Printing’s Parallel with 3D PrintingBart became acquainted with 3D Printing and immediately saw its parallel with the 2D printing software evolution. Today, making changes to posters, like adjusting the typeface or size of a text, are considered rather easy to execute (but still can be difficult to decide on what to change). These changes in traditional 2D printing are similar to the way that changes are difficult to make 3D objects using traditional manufacturing techniques.
Yet in 3D Printing, these changes just require slightly adjusting a design through computer software, checking its printability through programs like Magics, and reprinting it. Moreover, for Materialise customers using 3-maticSTL, they can make these changes directly on the STL file and do not have to run the files through different programs to make these changes.