Cool Real-world Examples of 3D Printing
Thanks to 3D printing, we can print brilliant and useful products, from homes to wedding accessories. 3D printing has evolved over time and revolutionized many businesses along the way.
This relatively new technology has disrupted the medicine, music, fashion and automotive industries — for the better. Take a look at some impressive real-world examples of 3D printing and the companies that have embraced this advanced technology.
Are we living in the year 3000? The Berlin-based technology company BigRep definitely makes it look like we’re already in the future. This company is ready to change the motorcycle industry. BigRep developed the world's first 3D-printed motorcycle called NERA (and it looks amazing).
What's life like under the sea? Humans may be able to know the answer sooner than we thought. Art graduate Jun Kamei created an incredible 3D-printed garment with gills called Amphibio. The amphibious gill could allow humans to breathe underwater.
Fashion and design have also embraced 3D technology. Many dresses have been created thanks to 3D printing, including wedding dresses and runway dresses. Printing a gown is cheaper, easier and quicker. Now, you don't need to shop for a dress at the store anymore — you can develop one right at home!
Bicyclists and pedestrians can now cross on 3D-printed bridges. Some of these bridges have popped up around the world. In fact, the world's first 3D-printed bridge is located in Gemert, the Netherlands. In China, Shanghai has one of the largest 3D-printed concrete bridges on the planet, measuring 86 feet long and 11 feet wide.
Traditional prostheses are expensive, but 3D printing has the potential to put an end to that problem. In one case, college students used a 3D printer to create a prosthetic arm for six-year-old Alex Pring. The new arm only cost $350 to make, while many prosthetic arms can cost up to $40,000 each.
Homebuilding techniques are changing. Thanks to 3D printing, homes can be built in less than 24 hours at a cost of only $4,000. Other than cheaper prices and faster construction periods, 3D printing could also help those living in poverty.
If you love musical instruments, you can 3D print them too. For instance, you can create all types of guitars, from acoustic to electric. Printing a guitar can be cheaper, faster and more convenient than purchasing one. Making traditional prototypes for instruments takes many hours of trial and error. However, a 3D printer can reduce the time.
Many couples try to find tips and tricks for saving money on their weddings. However, one bride cut costs for her special day using a 3D printer. Harnessing her love for 3D printing, Erin Winick designed and created her headband, the table numbers, the cake topper, the floral cake decorations and the flower girl’s necklace using a 3D printer.
BMW’s Millionth Component
While 3D printing isn't new, some luxury brands support it more than others. Since 2010, BMW has adopted 3D-printing processes to manufacture car components. The automotive company reached a huge achievement by printing one million components over the course of a decade.
NASA is one step closer to turning one person's trash into another person's treasure. The space agency invented the "Refabricator," a system that takes 3D printing to a whole new level. The Refabricator lets astronauts recycle waste to create new tools while in orbit.
With 3D printing, it's possible to create brilliant and useful products. For instance, German disability rights activist Raul Krauthausen designed a game-changing device. He invented a portable, 3D-printed wheelchair ramp. His prototype helps him ride up and down steps and curbs.
This technology is also revolutionizing fashion footwear by creating custom-made shoes for better support and fit. Big fitness brands have already released 3D-printed shoes for mainstream consumption. For instance, New Balance began selling $400 3D-printed shoes in 2016. Adidas also developed futuristic shoes in 2016, but the company only gave them to Olympics-winning athletes at first.
Dreaming about driving a 3D-printed car? Well, it’s soon to become a dream come true. Thanks to 3D printing, the automotive industry is changing. For instance, car manufacturer Bentley created the Bentley Speed 6 using state-of-the-art metal 3D-printing technology.
3D-printed medical models are groundbreaking for preoperative analysis. The new technology allows healthcare professionals to print in different colors, textures, gradients and transparencies. Doctors and surgeons who study the models learn more about human anatomy due to the prints' realism and accuracy.
Running low on makeup? Is your favorite lipstick discontinued? No problem. Whether it's lipstick or eyeshadow, it's possible to create cosmetics with 3D printing. One woman developed a portable makeup printer called Mink, allowing people to print at their homes, in their cars or even in their favorite coffee shops.
Coral reefs have also merged with the 3D-printing revolution, and scientists believe 3D printing may help the environment. For instance, using artificial corals could fix the damage that results from bleached corals. The 3D-printed versions of the invertebrates offer the possibility to save more than just the coral, but also other organisms.
Hold the phone. We can now print skin thanks to 3D printers, although the technology is currently only tested on animals. Dr. James Yoo created a special 3D printer that can scan the wounds of burn victims and crank out synthetic skin right into the injuries.
Home decorations and technology are merging more than ever before. Can't find the right dining chairs to go with the rest of your home's décor? Instead of running to IKEA, consumers will be able to customize their furniture with 3D printing.
Vinyl LP records are returning to the mainstream, but some are coming back as 3D-printed versions. Using a 3D printer, music lovers can get close to the real thing. The audio on the new records is low-quality, but listeners can still recognize the music.
3D printing can also change the lives of animals. A cute husky, Derby, was born without two front legs, so his ability to move was limited. His owner, Tara Anderson, provided him wheels for mobility, but these just weren’t the right fit.
3D-printed food may sound weird, but it can still be delicious. The ingredients are all real too. To 3D-print food, the ingredients must be puréed and fit into a syringe-like device in order to eject onto a plate. Other ingredients must be added by hand.
Locked out of the house or office? Forgot your keys? No worries. You can make a spare key with a 3D printer and always have a copy with you. "Do not duplicate" keys aren’t restricted, either. Thanks to Keysforge, you can replicate any key you want.
3D printing is going to brilliantly disrupt the medical industry. Believe it or not, we will be able to 3D-print solid organs eventually. Using the new technology, Organovo developed functional liver cells that survived for more than 40 days. The product is currently only for pharmaceutical testing.
Can't afford the camera of your dreams? With the rise of 3D printing, photographers can create custom cameras for themselves. London-based photographer Paul Kohlhaussen 3D printed many components to create his dream camera. Some people have also 3D printed entire cameras, including the lenses.
Need protective headgear? No problem. 3D-print it! The Swiss Guards who protect the Pope at the Vatican always wear helmets, but for more than 500 years, those hard hats have been uncomfortable to wear (especially in the hot sun). The guards no longer have to worry about the uncomfortable helmets.
Millions of people around the world need surgery for new corneas due to corneal blindness or scarring. However, scientists may be one step closer to solving this problem thanks to 3D bioprinting. In early 2019, University of Newcastle researchers developed a highly advanced "human" cornea using a 3D printer.
Arevo Inc. used 3D software and technology to create the world’s first 3D-printed bicycle. The fully functional bike is made of carbon fiber. After two weeks, the company finished building the bike. Although two weeks sounds like a long time, it's quicker than the traditional, more labor-intensive process.
Some of the most controversial creations of 3D printing are weapons, particularly guns. Defense Distributed developed the first 3D-printed firearm in 2013. Although 3D printers can work with metals, it's expensive. As a result, Defense Distributed made the firearm from plastic.
3D printing has transformed the medical industry in many ways. One incredible example of how 3D printing has disrupted the industry is by fixing broken bones. After a bone breaks, plates and screws are often required to hold the damaged parts together as the bone heals.
For those who wear glasses, finding a frame that fits right is challenging. The frames may be too big, too small or too uncomfortable. Fortunately, 3D printing is creating new and improved opportunities for customized glasses frames. Now, the eyewear industry has met the 3D printing uprise.