3D Printing: Holding the World in your Hands

From the development of pre-manufacturing scale models of components, parts, or assemblies, to the creation of demonstrative courtroom exhibits, it seems there are no limits to what 3D printing can do. 3D printing complements data collection tools such as computed tomography (CT) and laser scanners, and is used to document and preserve accurate, easy-to-understand physical models of components, structures, and accident scenes.

Thanks to 3D printing, it is possible to engage the sense of touch for a trier of fact. Physical models allow jurors a more tactile experience, enabling them to hold a full color 3D version of an object in their hands. Coupling visual and tactile experiences in the courtroom makes a lasting impression on jurors and is efficient because 3D animated elements are easily 3D printed putting key components of a technical animation in your juror’s hands.

3D printing allows us to transcend scale in an engaging way. Huge objects, like an oil drilling platform, now fit in the courtroom and can be touched or held in a juror’s hand. In contrast, tiny objects or assemblies that may be hard to understand due to their miniaturization may be scaled up so the part interactions in a tiny medical device are easily observable. Used in concert with animated visuals 3D prints are very effective when teaching highly technical concepts. It’s important to consider how 3D printed objects may inform critical case issues.