Gorgeous accessory, huh? This may come as a surprise to you, but it was actually printed in 3d. That’s right. Printed.
3d printing is a process where a three dimensional object is actually created by laying down successive layers of material.
It has been around since 1988, but many breakthroughs have occurred since such as full color HD printing. This printing technique has recently been growing as the cost of 3d printers slowly decline. Watch this short video to get a better idea of how it works.
Classic application includes reconstruction of bones, creating models for CAD designs, replicating artifacts, and so on.
Though it has been used in a variety of industries.
3d printing is even being researched for possible use in tissue engineering applications where organs and body parts are built using inkjet techniques. Crazy huh? Layers of living cells would be deposited onto a gel medium and slowly built up to form three dimensional body parts. (The image links to a video with more information.)
3D printing can already produce a personalized hip replacement, with the ball permanently inside the socket which is not otherwise possible. It would use a cat scan and MRI to build a precise fit.
It all starts on the computer. Below is a 3d model shown on the computer, and freshly printed dragons sitting on that computer. Most of these printers can print plastic or metal.
I’m waiting on it to produce food. You know, like on the old cartoon, The Jetson’s. It actually looks like they are working on that at Cornell University! In fact, that puppy can make things out of cake frosting (look out Ace of Cakes) and play dough.
Most recently, 3D printing technology is being used for artistic expression. And, that is what I want to highlight here – how it can be used for the home. It may be a new source for an original piece in your home. Or, perhaps you could even make your own.
Each image is a link to the listing.
This is a spiral Christmas ornament. That’s right, also made by using 3d printing.
A lamp shade.
A variety have been designed on iMaterialise and posted on Flicker. You can get more information by clicking on individual images on the Flicker page.
Art. Perhaps for Halloween?
And, even shoes.
There are also examples of jewelry out there if you search. It’s quite the versatile technology. But, each print does take quite a bit of time – 2 hours for a bracelet, for example.
How much do these printers cost? Well, they aren’t really intended for the home market, so they are pricey. They started at around $20,000 on average years ago and are now $2-5,000 on average, depending on what you need it to do exactly.
Some companies such as Shapeways and iMaterialise offer a 3D printing service. Users upload their own 3D designs to the company website, then the designs are printed via industrial 3D printers and then shipped to the customer.
What do you think? Would you ever use a product like this? Have you?