There is little doubt that the single most important area within the 3D printing industry is that of materials. Material science could potentially lead the way to thousands of new applications for additive manufacturing technology. It’s not the hardware that will drive things forward the most, but instead the materials that the hardware is able to work with.
In an increasingly dominated technology world, the use of advanced manufacturing solutions to deliver market advantages through tailored, leading-edge products is going to increase. The use of carbon fibers, powders and nanotubes expand drastically the reach of 3D to make parts that are lighter than plastic and stronger than aluminum. Aerospace is the obvious industry but automotive, rail & marine are not left behind. Recently at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. ORNL's newest 3-D printed vehicle pays homage to the classic Shelby Cobra in celebration of the racing car's 50th anniversary. The 3-D printed Shelby was on display January 12-15 of this year as part of the show's inaugural Technology Showcase. The approximately 1400-pound vehicle contained 500 pounds of printed parts made of 20 percent carbon fiber. More recently the UK official spokesperson declared “3D and carbon will lead to the exploitation of these technologies in order to deliver high-quality, low-cost products and systems through emerging trends such as open source designs for use with 3D and 4D printing. - 4D printing refers to printed objects that can adapt to their surroundings- So are you ready for parts being made on board a space vehicle or a boat, this technology is not for tomorrow but is available today and the excitement comes for the drastic reduction in price that we can start to appreciate on the market where you can purchase a small 3D printer for as low as $5,000.

*Libra6 is invested in California Carbon Industry, a new alternative material company.