9 of the Coolest Things to Ever Come Out of a 3D Printer
- Elise Leveque
- October 17, 2012
The excitement and hype that has been developing around the idea of 3D printing and what it might be able to do has begun to reach near hysterical proportions over the last year or so. The idea that we will soon be able to completely give up the whole ‘having to get up and move to get food’ thing as well as having the ability to print houses has had many an internet group salivating over how the process will revolutionize our lives. The actual process of 3D printing involves adding layers of individual dots on top of one another (in what is known as an ‘additive’ process) until a physical, 3D object emerges.
3D printing as a whole is still in its early stages, but some of the things that have been made possible in the few short years it has existed are really jaw-dropping. There are some seriously cool things you can already print out using this technology so I thought I would list a few…
As a whole, the process of 3D printing has potentially enormous implications for medical treatment. One very way that this is the case is the way that doctors have already restored a patient’s bite by printing them out a synthetic lower jaw. While there have been hands and other limbs printed out as well, it will be the question of whether working organs can be created which is of great interest to the medical industry.
The Urbee is an electric car model capable of running an extremely environmentally sound 200 miles to the gallon. The car is made even more impressive by the fact that the majority of its body was printed using a 3D printer. The first Urbee went on public display in Canada in 2011.
It should also be noted that car enthusiast Jay Leno uses a 3D printer in his garage, which he uses to print out rare auto parts for his collection of vintage cars that would be near-impossible to find elsewhere.
3D printing can be of two main uses when it comes to learning from historical artifacts. Firstly, the process can be utilized to create accurate replicas of the internal structures of particularly delicate pieces so that their inner workings can be studied. Secondly, the Smithsonian Institute has digitized and then printed out replicas a number of its more precious artefacts in order to be able to take them on educational tours.
Chocolate versions of people’s faces
Slightly strange maybe, but this collaboration between David Carr and MIT’s Media Lab has a lot of potentially great uses. Imagine giving your loved one a box of chocolate versions of your own face for Valentines…
Inventor Enrico Dini has taken the idea of 3D printing and made it much larger in scale. Creating a huge machine that creates solid structures by layering liquid adhesive, sand and a solid catalyst, Dini has potentially fundamentally changed the way we look at construction. The process is so impressive someone even made a documentary about it and its creator.
Perfectly working clocks
Clocks involve quite a lot of complex gears and internal mechanisms, so for a single machine to be able to produce one that works and is ready to be used is not only incredibly worrying to clock makers everywhere, but also impressive in its own right. This is an example of the potential commercial applications of this kind of technology if it were to become more widespread, with consumers buying templates from retailers and then printing out the actual product at home.
A life size model of your unborn child
How are you going to top givng your lover a box of your face chocolates? Why, by giving them a life size model of the unborn fetus in either yours or their womb of course! A clinic in Japan has been offering parents the chance to freak out their friends at dinner parties since last year.
OK, that was a slight exaggeration. The Burrit0bot can’t actually print out an actual burrito, but can provide you with all the sauces that you will need to kick your cooking up a notch. Whether this is a great human achievement or another self inflicted blow that will mean that even more of the global service industries are replaced by machines is currently open to debate.
…and finally, the company Continuum Fashion’s N12 bikini is made from lots of tiny plastic plates printed using a 3D printer and connected by tiny springs. Fashion retailers have got a close eye on this because it could mean that in the near future consumers would go into a shop and simply select the style of clothes they wanted, which would then be printed out to fit their bodies perfectly.
Are you excited about what the future holds yet? Just think about the possibilities if all of the stuff above can be printed out right this second using a 3D printer! Does anyone have any great ideas about some problems we could solve with this technology? Leave them in the comments section below.
A couple of years ago, Elise Lévêque moved from the North of France to Bristol in the UK, and has not looked back since. She is working as a freelance translator but finds the time to write blogs for Cartridge Shop to share her passions for social media, design and technology. She can be reached at @Elise_GKBCinc
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