3D printing is a technology that has been around for decades. The concept of 3D Printing is scanning or building a model of an object which then translates to a printing apparatus that builds the object on a X,Y and Z Axis, out of a predetermined material. 3D Printers, in recent years, have become an easily accessible device, that you could have in your own home. The List of what a 3D printer is capable of has increased tremendously in recent years, listed below are some of the stranger applications of this technology.
3D Printing Clothing isn’t a common practice, yet, but it has been a feat that has been attempted. There are several fashion designers and famous people that have chosen to wear and attempt to push the limits of 3D Clothing (Model, Dita Von Teese is wearing a 3D Printed dress – above). There are several companies working on prototypes to make this technology more practical and accessible at home (below).
It May seem like a strange Sci-Fi concept but printing ready to eat meals is now available. Natural Machines has created the first food 3D printer, known as the Foodini, that creates meals with natural ingredients and just requires minimal prep work and choosing what you would like to eat. This technology is still new but it may someday be in every kitchen. If you are interested in having it now, check out the link below:
Several companies have taken 3d Printing technology and applied it to vehicle manufacturing to help ensure that there is no mistakes made in the manufacturing process and the help speed up production. Even the U.S. Air Force has decided to take this technology to repair some of their planes, due to it’s lightweight compound. There have even been several vehicles made entirely from 3D Printing, although that is not a practical means of manufacturing…yet.
There are several different medical uses for 3D Printing, from custom printing prosthetic limbs and casts to “Bioprinting” human tissues and organic material to help rebuild or repair injured or damaged areas. 3D Printing has also recently been approved by the FDA to help speed up and perfect the dosage of pill production. By allowing robots and computers to take on these actions it leads to more affordable medical practices for all and less chance of mistakes being made.
Until recent years models were built by hand, often taking a long time. Thus, architects are often forced to show their clients drawings of their projects. According to Erik Kinipper, clients usually need to see the product from all possible viewpoints in space to get a clearer picture of the design and make an informed decision. In order to get these scale models to clients in a small amount of time, architects and architecture firms tend to rely on 3D printing. Using 3D printing, these firms can reduce lead times of production by 50 to 80 percent, producing scale models up to 60 percent lighter than the machined part while being sturdy. Thus, the designs and the models are only limited by a person’s imagination. The improvements on accuracy, speed and quality of materials in 3D printing technology have opened new doors for it to move beyond the use of 3D printing in the modeling process and actually move it to manufacturing strategy. A good example is Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis’ research at the University of Southern California which resulted in a 3D printer that can build a house in 24 hours .The process is called Contour Crafting. Khoshnevis, Russell, Kwon, & Bukkapatnam, define contour crafting as an additive manufacturing process which uses computer controlled systems to repeatedly lay down layers of materials such as concrete. Bushey also discussed Khoshnevis’s robot which comes equipped with a nozzle that spews out concrete and can build a home based on a set computer pattern. Contour Crafting technology has great potential for automating the construction of whole structures as well as sub-components. Using this process, a single house or a colony of houses, each with possibly a different design, may be automatically constructed in a single run, embedded in each house all the conduits for electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning.
Anything you want!
The application potential for 3D Printing is still just beginning to be discovered. They have recently used one aboard the ISS (International Space Station) to print tools needed in space, which avoids the hassel and time it would take to send it from Earth. The possibilities being thought up are endless, and soon every household may be able to manufacture everything they need and be self-sustaining. As the technology advances, we may find more effective uses for 3D printing; there has already been advances in 3D Printing electronic technology, firearms, and many other products.