3D printing offers many new opportunities for companies that want to focus on low-cost innovation. In fact, thanks to this new technology, objects of different shapes can be made from a digital model. Since the FDM patent on FDM technology - i. e. molded deposition modeling - expired in 2009, the cost of 3D printers has fallen significantly, making them accessible to many small businesses that were previously excluded from the market because of high costs. 3D printing is defined as the creation of three-dimensional objects by means of additive production, starting from a digital 3D model.
The digital model is produced with dedicated software and then elaborated to be realized, layer by layer, through a 3D printer. In the coming years, 3D printing will bring a very high level of innovation, in fact this technology lends itself to many uses. Three-dimensional printing makes it as economical to create individual objects as it does to create thousands of them and thus undermines economies of scale. It could have such a profound impact on the world as the advent of the factory.... Just as no one could have predicted the impact of the steam engine in 1750 - or the printing press in 1450, or the transistor in 1950 - it is impossible to predict the long-term impact of 3D printing. But technology is coming, and it is likely that it subverts every field it touches.
3D printing is commonly used in model visualization, prototyping/CAD, metal casting, architecture, education, geospatial technology, healthcare, and entertainment/retail. Other applications would include the reconstruction of fossils in palaeontology, the replication of priceless and ancient artifacts in archaeology, the reconstruction of bones and body parts in forensic medicine and the reconstruction of severely damaged evidence acquired from investigations into the crime scene.
Using special 3D scanning and printing processes, cultural heritage can also be reproduced. Researchers at the University of Sydney have used 3D printing to create coral prostheses to use to save the Australian Great Barrier Reef from bleaching. Researchers have designed a virtual 3D' map' of the coral reef that replicates the precise model of the structure before environmental change.