3D printing technology has become very prevalent in everyday life. There are ways 3D printers are used that you might not even be aware you are benefiting from right now. 3D printers have just become such a normal thing to use that a lot of industries have started implementing them in ways it was impossible to imagine even a few years ago.
The cost of a 3D printer has dropped to the point that owning one in your home isn’t out of the realm of possibility any longer. Buying a 3D printer is something a lot of people have considered doing and it’s not limited to large-scale businesses at this point in time. Small businesses are using 3D printing every day now too.
With 3D printing being so readily available there have been some pretty cool things printed with 3D printers by now too. They can range from the medically advanced uses of bioprinting to silly but awesome toys you can print in your own home. It’s an exciting time to be watching this type of technology grow. With that in mind, here are seven of the coolest things to ever be made with a 3D printer.
In 2015 a well-known 3D printing company created and released the ChefJet Pro 3D. It’s a printer that is capable of printing candy in a variety of flavors. The creations you can make with this particular printer are very similar to those you can create with a normal 3D printer. It’s been used to create candies that look identical to their 3D printed plastic counterparts.
The ChefJet Pro uses syrup and flavoring to create its designs and you can get chocolate or vanilla as well as fruity flavors like grape or strawberry. Candy makers have created 3D printed candy games and other elaborate creations since this product was released. The way it’s being used is pretty awesome, and tasty.
2. 3D Artwork For The Blind
3D printing technology being used in the art world is pretty cool on its own but this particular use is even cooler. 3D printers have been used to recreate classic art pieces that people who are blind can touch and feel so they can experience the artwork themselves. It’s opening doors for a whole new demographic to enjoy artwork they couldn’t previously enjoy.
Some artists are also using this idea to create works specifically for individuals with vision impairments. There are entire installations made for people to come in and explore the art by feeling and touching it. It’s something that hasn’t been fully explored in the art world yet but it’s exciting to see more people being able to enjoy art in new ways.
Entire buildings have been printed by 3D printers. Most recently a 6 story building was printed in China that inspections have determined is safe to inhabit. It was printed by 3D printers that are 6.6 meters tall and use recycled concrete and construction waste materials to create their designs. The same method was used to create a house in 2014.
These printers are now capable of printing a building up to 12 stories tall. It’s saving construction companies quite a bit of money and those savings may eventually be passed on to consumers. Apartment buildings are some of the first things on the company’s list to try out as their next printing projects.
4. Fashion Lines
Fashion designers have been able to use 3D printers to create a fabric that they’ve used to make all kinds of designs. One designer even made an entire line of fashion items that interested buyers were able to buy designs for and print at home. The line interweaves normal 3D printer filaments to create a fluid material that flows like fabric.
3D printers have been used in costume designs for various settings as well. A particularly memorable piece, an entire Iron Man suit, made by an avid fan of cosplaying really showed what 3D printing is capable of accomplishing in the fashion industry setting. It took over six months to create but the end result was pretty amazing.
5. Football Cleats
Nike got in on the idea of using 3D printing technology too. They created a specialized set of football cleats that they claim improve performance and help athletes move more quickly because they’re so lightweight and easy to wear. The cleats are also customizable because they are printed in any color combination you could ask for.
Nike called the shoe the Nike Vapor Laser Talon and they said the 3D printed cleat plate weighed in at 5.6oz. Extremely light for a shoe that’s being worn to dig into the grass and give athletes better footing while they’re playing football. Released in 2013 Nike was able to claim the shoe as the first-ever 3D printed cleat available to purchase.
6. A Cast To Help Bones Heal Faster
3D printing a cast at all is a cool idea but this one takes it a step further. A cast called the Osteoid was created that not only looks much cooler than it’s normal counterparts but helps a bone heal faster than it would on its own.
The cast has a ventilation system that incorporates open holes to make it more comfortable and circulates a low-intensity ultrasound around the cast to help decrease healing time by about 38% which is pretty amazing.
7. Human And Animal Prosthetics
Printing prosthetics is something that’s been used to greatly improve the daily lives of a lot of people, and now animals as well. A designer was able to create a beak for a toucan that had its beak broken off and was trying to survive without it. While that’s cool to see it’s also something that has helped animals live better lives too.
Children who normally would’ve needed to wait for a prosthetic because they were still growing and it was too expensive to replace a prosthetic have been able to get prosthetics 3D printed as well. This is exciting because having to wait until you’re done growing was sometimes very hard on a child. Making prosthetics more affordable for children and adults is a great and exciting way to see 3D printing being used.
3D printers have a lot of really cool uses. As you can see they range from the frivolous (like candy) to the life-changing (like prosthetics.) Watching where this technology is going is something that’s bound to continue being just as exciting as it has been in the past. There’s no telling what someone will dream up and be able to print in the years to come.