3D Printing

Gorgeous accessory, huh?  This may come as a surprise to you, but it was actually printed in 3d.  That’s right.  Printed.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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This is a spiral Christmas ornament.  That’s right, also made by using 3d printing.

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A lamp shade.

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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.

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Napkin ring.

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Pencil bowl.

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Pencil holder.

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Bowl.

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Art.  Perhaps for Halloween?

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Door handle.

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And, even shoes.

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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.

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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?

kristysig

8 Comments :

  1. My husband manages the prepress for a local print shop and saw this demonstrated at a print show in Chicago this year! He said it just amazing!

  2. That’s just CRAZY! Very cool in an artistic way. :-) I’m not sure I’d want to go the food route though!

  3. I’ve heard of 3D printing before but I never knew it was available to consumers. Thank you so much for the information. This is really exciting!

  4. Dude, this is the coolest thing. I’ve never seen anything else like it!

  5. Wow – this is amazing! It’s kind of boggling my mind, actually. :) Thanks so much for stopping by and for your nice comment! I have signed up so I’ll be back again…

  6. WOW! I had no idea there was capabilities of printing in 3D. My Son just received the Nintendo 3D DS. He is loving it! 3D is really big now, isn’t it? Kristy, thank you so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to encourage me. You had some wonderful viewpoints and I appreciate you sharing them with me & my readers. This was my reply to your comment: “Excellent viewpoints Kristy! I am honored you are reading my blog. I read yours as well and adore your design eye. You are ALWAYS welcome to ramble here. ;) Thank you so much for your support and words of encouragement. Comments always mean so much to me {especially on such revealing posts like this one.}” Thank you again!!! Hugs!

  7. Wow the possibilities are endless, there is also the makerbot that you can buy

  8. Since the time this post was made the cost for the 3D printers have decreased greatly – and will continue to do so. Only a question of time until they become affordable.

    @ Laura: The possibilities that this technology allows are endless indeed. Especially when available to everybody.

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