When 3D printing first became a popular topic in the media it was just big companies that were using what seemed to be futuristic technology. It was an exciting development in technological terms but as it was mainly limited to the manufacturing industry interest wasn’t sustained. However, 3D printing technology has steadily been getting more sophisticated away from the media glare and its uses have definitely increased! Take a look at this list of things you can make with a 3D printer these days.
Courtesy of Not Possible Labs
One extremely good use for 3D printing has been employed by Not Impossible Labs who have been using the technology to print prosthetic arms for amputee children in places such as Sudan. Using 3D printers makes it cheaper and so more children can receive the replacements limbs.
A crowdfunding attempt failed a few years ago to get 3D Babies off the ground. They wanted to 3D print a baby after a 4D scan but it just didn’t have the interest it needed. More recently it has been in the news that an unborn baby was 3D printed for a blind woman who couldn’t see her baby on the ultrasound scans. This printed baby’s face allowed her to feel what her child was going to look like.
That’s right! Selfies no longer need to stay in 2D form. Plenty of companies can be found online who will 3D print any selfie that that you send to them. So rather than just looking at these pictures on your phone or social media, you can now print yourself and … I’m actually not sure what you would do with a 3D printed model of yourself.
Skin, Bones and Organs
As we have seen already on this list, 3D printing is making big leaps forward in the medical field. What many people don’t know is that the technology can be used to to create skin and bones! This may seem like science fiction but it is very much a reality and has many uses, for example people who need skin grafts. The technology can in theory also be used to print organs. A prototype of a printed ear has been created so far and this is definitely an area of interest for people driving forward 3D printing technology.
Vinyl records may be retro but the way they can now be made certainly isn’t! It’s not the common way of making them and the grooves are deeper than in traditional records but they can be played. They just tend to look like a modern version of a retro classic.
3D printing items of clothing is generally reserved for catwalks and other items that are never available to the general public. However, N12 have developed a 3D printed bikini that is in fact very practical and doesn’t look half bad. The bikini is made from nylon, making it waterproof, and it covers all the bits that need covering. You can buy it online, but make sure you get all the pieces that you need! Each section is sold separately and is simply hooked together by the wearer!
Printed food? It’s actually quite a logical step when you think about it. Whatever you put into a 3D printer will come out of it. For a long while practical materials were used to build objects, but 3D Systems also revealed with their ‘ChefJet 3D Printer’ that if you put sugar and cocoa butter into a printer you can get chocolate out of it! It’s got to be a good thing because even Hershey, the chocolate giants, are getting in on the action.
3D printing can be used in a variety of ways within the forensics field. Small scale models of crime scenes can be printed in order to make it easier for professionals and juries to understand the details of a crime.
Aspects of evidence such as footprints and fingerprints can also be printed so that professionals can have models rather than simple 2D photos to work with.
Courtesy of trends.directindustry.com
Ok, so this one is not quite being made just yet but it is entirely possible! In fact the European Space Agency are considering using 3D printing technology to create a permanent base on the moon. Rover type automatons could potentially be sent to the moon and begin the 3D printing process using lunar materials. Experiments have been successful so now it is just a case of waiting to see when (or if) it happens!