20 Examples of 3D Printing Application
In recent years the progress of 3Dprinting has gained rapid rate so that soon we'll stop talking about what you can create using additive manufacturing. It will be easier to mention what you cannot create. Moreover this list will be decreased rapidly. But now let's look at some examples, showing wide range of 3Dprinting opportunities. We warn you in advance that the list is not exhaustive.
A gift for the impatient parents
Young parents often experience an irresistible desire to get all sorts of things that in one way or another are connected with their child, even the unborn. Japanese company Fasotec offers prospective parents models of unborn babies, made from images of such fetus obtained by magnetic resonance imaging. The finished model consists of two materials: fetus figurines made of white photopolymer and transparent material that imitates the shape of the mother's womb. With a price of about $ 1275 this pleasure is not cheap, but Fasotec has already have competitors. Thus, the company 3D Babies offers similar service for just $ 200, although the size of the finished model is much less, and the quality is not quite on the same level.
While the desire to get a similar model may sound a bit strange, there is a logical explanation. It turns out that the idea was originally aimed at providing blind parents with the opportunity to "look" at the ultrasound unborn child.
The functional 3Dprinted gun receiver of AR-15 without any numbers
The possibility of weapon 3Dprinting has seriously alarmed law enforcement agencies around the world. In the end, even simple FDM printers allow you to create fully plastic pistols. Suppose that such weapons are primitive, but even disposable gun with only one bullet in the hands of criminals could cost somebody's life, and it is impossible to trace such weapons. Nevertheless, there are also people who think that weapon 3Dprinting should be allowed. So, the U.S. Constitution gives citizens the right to carry weapons, although some restrictions still apply. The non-profit organization Defence Distributed, which released a plastic gun Liberator within easy access, went further, unveiling a design of the bottom of a receiver of AR-15 rifle. AR-15 is actually a civilian analogue and even a prototype of automatic rifle M-16 being in the arsenal of several countries. The lower part of the receiver bears the registration number; it is the only part of the rifle, which cannot be available as a spare part. Thus, printing of this part may allow ignoring the need for registration of weapons. Some countries have already banned the weapon3D printing, although it is not clear how to apply this prohibition in practice.
One of Snezhana Gross’ designs
Some expendable materials for 3Dprinting in particular soft photopolymers are quite suitable for the manufacture of clothing and even underwear. The bra in the illustration was made by laser sintering of nylon. This design from Continuum Fashion is intended to demonstrate opportunities offered by 3Dprinting for the couturier. But do not think that this is an experimental model: the company offers finished products for sale at Shapeways.
Russian designers have also used new technology. Snezhana Gross demonstrated designs of casual clothes, integrating functional 3Dprinted components.
It is simply to print but a bit more difficult to take a picture
Would you like a replica of Venus de Milo Statue? No problems, just select the material and printing method. However, there is no marble in the menu, but sandstone substitute is already available. One of the first materials for 3D printing was cast. Three-dimensional image of the original can be obtained using conventional photography to be converted into 3D. In addition, more and more 3Dscanners have recently appeared on the market, including portable hand-held options that can capture images of large objects. A mere trifle remains - to agree on a stereo photo shoot with the Louvre’s security.
And if you are too lazy to make the digital models yourselves, they are always available for download.
What's for breakfast?
Even if it is still far to giant hotdogs, 3Dprinters have already learned to print with minced meat. One example is the culinary printer Foodini. It is simple and practical device that use the syringe extrusion. Moreover, the printer can not only use minced meat but also any pasty product - batter, cheese, tomato puree. The only thing is that Foodini cannot provide heat treatment. It is expected that soon there will be a devices that will combine 3Dprinting and cooling units, and microwaves. Then science fiction tale of "replicators” can come true. One click and the device will lay out the desired pizza and bake it for the joy of the user. Just one question: do you want thin or thick dough?
Parts of the mode used for the animation of a main character of ParaNorman cartoon
Whether it is a miniature version of the giant robot from a favourite manga, terrible alien creature from "Alien" or Keanu Reeves figure (in a black cloak and wearing sunglasses as well as with the beard and a sandwich sitting on the bench), 3Dprinting allows you to create a replica of heroes of games and movies to the delight of fans. And the fact that these gifts can be printed even using household 3Dprinters, offers great opportunities for fans collecting such models because not all of them are commercially available. Do you want a rare model of an airplane? Just print it.
And what is most interesting is the fact that this application has already had a reverse effect. ParaNorman cartoon characters were printed as well as a new Robocop’s suit. However, inside it there were human organs. There is no sense to stop at simple visualization.
An early prototype of "terminator"
The appearance of low-cost Arduino boards has made it possible to design a variety of home devices with electronic filling. Here you have your own 3Dprinted robots. Just print a body, insert servomotors and board and you have a new assistant to help with the housework. But how about people who do not understand programming or elementary soldering? The scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a project aimed at automating the design and construction of home robots. Ideally, the user will be required to set only the necessary functions for the future structure, after which the system will compile the necessary design and send it to the printer. A few hours later a device will be ready: a spider robot for cleaning the chandelier or a machine to flip pancakes.
3D printed part that is used in the prototype of the Chinese fifth generation fighter aircrafts
We have already mentioned the toy planes. And how about real planes? The additive production is used in the aircraft industry as well but in this case it uses expensive industrial installations, capable of creating high-quality parts, including all-metal. Leading Aircraft Corporation, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin, has already been experiencing the technology of laser sintering and smelting for the production of ventilation systems, bearing components, and even parts of jet engines. The Chinese engineers have gone about work on a large scale creating an installation for additive manufacturing of parts weighing up to 300 tons.
Dragon v2 is the latest brainchild of Space
The space industry keeps up with the aircraft industry being interested in 3D printing. NASA successfully tested titanium rocket engine nozzles, and a few weeks ago Elon Musk, head of private space company SpaceX, held a presentation of the new orbital spacecraft Dragon v2, that also uses an engine with 3D-printed parts.
Bio-pens can help in the treatment of fractures
Vessels, tissues, whole organs...Several companies have been engaged in the development of organic imitators being entirely similar to natural fabrics. Although it is still far away to transplantation of 3D printed organs, works in this direction are carried out. Simultaneously with the production of organic tissues, methods of damaged tissues repair, such as bone or cartilage, have been developing from scratch. The devices called "bio pens" can deliver live cells to damaged areas, facilitating their healing.
Titanium orthopaedic implants with porous structure for enhanced osseointegration
And what happens if tissues cannot be restored? 3D printing can help with prosthetics. Thus, the Swedish company Arcam creates installations for electron-beam melting allowing the creation of actually monolithic metal products, including titanium. Titanium orthopaedic implants have become one of the most popular products produced by this company. According to the company’s statistics their number exceeds thirty thousand items.
Moreover, 3D printed limbs can compete with high-tech products with only one difference - their cost is not so high. How many people can afford a prosthetic arm at the price of ten thousand of dollars? How about a fully functional prosthesis for $ 50? And it's possible.
Even more common application of the additive manufacturing can be seen in dental prosthetics. If you have recently put a dental crown or ponticulus, it is possible that they were cast on models created using stereolithography printer printing photopolymer resins.
3D printed musical instruments
Guitars? Flute? Drums? Easily! Have you broken your oboe? Print a new one. Of course, professional musicians may argue: plastic guitar? Frivolous. But who said that the entire instrument must be made of plastic? The same fingerboard can be printed from wood polymer being similar in density to the natural wood. You can even print a carbon fiber composite core. As for the decoration of the favourite harpsichord, here 3D printing can work wonders. It all depends on the imagination!
Stylish sneakers from Luc Fusaro
Eight-time world champion in sprint Usain Bolt is famous for his love of gold things. This includes not only medals, but also cars and even shoes. During his contract with famous manufacturer Puma, Bolt wore gold-plated brand sneakers. And more recently, an engineer and designer Luc Fusaro has started the development of sports shoes, which would strike Usain’s fancy. Their distinguishing feature is the golden color. Oh yes - and they are designed to be manufactured via 3D printing method. The additive manufacturing has one major bonus, namely, the possibility of the production of footwear, accurately tailored to fit the size and contours of athlete's foot. These shoes are produced by laser sintering, although this technology has already had a competitor.
3D printing may facilitate the fabrication of mixed medicines and help with testing drugs on living tissues
Research companies actively apply 3D printing not only for the development of methods of tissue construction and repair, but also for medicines testing and production, often in combination with tissue engineering. Thus, the company Organovo directs its efforts towards the creation of artificial human liver tissue for toxicity testing of new medicines without risk to human health. It is also possible to print medication, binding medicines with the gel material. At the output there are ordinary-looking pills, but with a complex containing medicines tailored to the individual patient.
Doc Brown gets acquainted with 3D printing. Approximately such a reaction should be expected
Most automotive components can be printed, but when it comes to mass production, it is economically impractical. But for prototyping of new cars, 3D printing fits perfectly. As, however, and for the production of unique cars or components. For example, you can print spare parts for small-scale models, being taken out of production. Where else can you find parts for DeLorean that became the prototype for the time machine from the movie "Back to the Future"? The only small company still producing parts for this car is located in Texas. Delivery of parts can be more expensive than this inexpensive car itself.
The maximum of glamour with minimal costs
Why not to take the finished product and add decorative elements? Turn your bicycle into a work of art. Gilded openwork mounting on black chassis will make passersby to look back. But not necessarily to stay on the decorative aspect! Maybe you do not like the seat. Why not to print a new one? Or add more comfortable handles? Or horn in the style of 1910s?
One of the ingenious designs of Joris Laarman
Toy furniture? Not only. The appearance of composite materials for FDM printing makes it possible to print "wooden" furniture, practically indistinguishable from the real thing. Actually, Laywoo-D3 material includes real wood in the form of micro chips. This material even smells like wood! Finished products are easily machined and varnished.
Or do you prefer the metal furniture? Dutch designer Joris Laarman has created his own installation for 3D printing with the metal, without using expensive powders, vacuum chambers and lasers. The device draws with the metal in the air, allowing you to create elegant intertwined designs.
Beautifully and functionally
A clear demonstration of the accuracy of 3D printing is its use in jewellery. It should be said immediately that not all technologies are suitable for this task. Widespread FDM printers are attractive due to their cost, but the print quality is not up to the standards of jewellery production. The most popular choice is laser (SLA) and projection (DLP) stereolithography. These installations using these technologies allow you to print photopolymer parts of extraordinary accuracy. Such products are used as a master model when making jewellery casting molds, considerably simplifying the production process.
But there is a version of the direct additive manufacturing of the jewellery: the technology of laser sintering and smelting allows you to create finished products of metal powder, including precious metal powders. However, the cost of such installations and materials are often too high for widespread use even by the jewellers.
3D printing of buildings will solve housing problems
The ability to use 3D printers for construction of buildings has occupied the minds of engineers around the world for a long time: the U.S. military has been seriously considering the use of 3D printing with concrete when building bases, the Chinese scientists have been experimenting with construction of concrete "boxes." However, these efforts are still quite primitive, because such house will need infrastructure: drainage, wiring ... Very promising attempts to build a full-fledged home were made by Andrey Rudenko. Andrew designed his own printer, capable of printing commercially available cement mixtures. Moreover, he has already had competitors. Thus, the company BetAbram plans to release in sale printers for printing buildings with the area up to 16h9m. The amount involved is about $ 44,000 for the largest of the three models. However, “more” does not necessarily means “better.” The Spanish developers are trying to go in the direction of miniaturization 3D printers for building, creating robots capable of using buildings elements being already constructed as a working support.