Additive Manufacturing machines or 3D printing machines as they are popularly known, seem to be surrounded by a lot of promise and hype. The art of technological fabrication in additive machines is startling with its capacity to print in over hundred different materials ranging from nylon, plastic polymers to metal and even skin tissue. The technology not only saves time but also reduces production costs while also significantly minimizing the error margin. With high-end, precise products created out of efficient use of resources and optimized waste management – what’s not to love?
Thanks to its revolutionizing ways, here are some amazing creations 3D printing can offer:
You know the world is a better place, when 3D chocolates can be printed. 3D print food technology is a hot topic for debate and in this case, sugar and cocoa butter are used rather than plastics to create various sweet treats.Apart from chocolates, other food printing experiments include pizza, ravioli and nuggets.
2. Prosthetic limbs:
It’s nothing short of amazing when 50,000 Sudanese bomb blast victims are given out 3D printed prosthetic limbs as a part of a low-cost prosthetic project originally started for amputees. Plastic 3D printers are already capable of printing artificial limbs for less than 100$.
3. Unborn fetuses:
Move over silly old ultrasound pictures from a Japanese company is ready to provide “3D scans” of your unborn baby for a substantial amount. Using Bio-printing technology, which is the procedure of printing human tissue through 3D printers, and a gel-like substance made from cells, 3D processing images are produced.
4. 3D Printers:
The invention of the ‘RepRap‘, an open source 3D Printer has brought life to a full circle as it is astonishingly capable of printing itself. Released under a free software license, it is possible to print out all the individual and put all the parts together to build another one for yourself and your friends. The RepRap can cost anywhere around 500$ – 600$.
The first 3D printed gun model, the ‘Liberator’ was created by Cody Wilson. Although made of plastic, it doesn’t imply that they aren’t dangerous. It is now possible to download a gun – the only requirements being an active internet connection and a 3D printer. The FBI claims that 3D print gun bullets are capable of piercing and injuring internal organs. Although the option of mainstream 3D gun printing is a far away dream as it is expected that local legislators will work towards their ban.
6. 3D Printed Fabrics:
Recently, a software was created that collects a person’s body data to create perfect fitting clothing by designer Jiri Evenhuise. This technology proves to lower the carbon footprint involved in producing garments as it is recyclable and also reduces labor.
A group of researchers in Abertayuniversity seem to be working on creating 3D printed models of structure of soil. The scientists observe how the fungi and bacteria behave and survive in the ‘plastic soil’.
7. Medical Models:
With the option of printing out 3D organs and bones, the medical fraternity now has cheaper alternatives to studying human anatomy while practicing surgeries on human cadavers will also prove to be far more convenient. The accuracy of these models will prove radical in discovering new surgical processes and cures. Although questions of ethics and morality are raised, there is no denying that Bio-Printing has the potential to revolutionize medicine and health care beyond what was earlier presumed.
8. Musical Instruments:
Now, it’s possible to 3D print music instruments as well, with musical printing experiments being conducted by many of the technology cum music enthusiasts. Scot Summi created the world’s first 3D printed acoustic guitar, which was made with plastic and also included the metal soundhole and heel. MIT Media Lab assistant, AmitZoran was able to print a working flute whereas musician Joanna Wronko created a 3D printed violin in Amsterdam. However, the only drawback at present seems to be the fact that they don’t seem to sound as good as the traditional ones.
3D printing is indeed the future, as many techies claim and it will be interesting to see how this powerful technology will be employed to better humankind.