10 innovations in the 3D printing realm

10 innovations in the 3D printing realm

Summary: What are some of the most exciting inventions and investments in 3D printing today?

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

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  • 3D printed guns

    While potentially placing guns in the unlicensed hands of the general public isn't the safest option, the development of weaponry using 3D printed parts is still innovative.

    While Defense Distributed was the first to develop and release blueprints for 3D-printed parts focused on guns, a 3D-printed gun was later discovered on AR-15.com, showing the construction of a gun using the technology which successfully fired off 200 rounds without signs of complications. 

    The gun in question combined the normal body of a .22 caliber pistol with a printed lower receiver used in AR-15 assault rifles.

    While innovative and potentially useful in the military, if everyone can print off their own guns, there's little point in gun control regulation.

    Via: AR-15

    Image credit: AR15.com

  • 3D printed houses

    3D printing is not only limited to healthcare, vehicles, or weaponry — it may also one day provide us with cheaper homes.

    An Amsterdam-based architecture firm, Dus Architects, is working hard on a project underway in the country: the construction of a traditional canal house manufactured by 3D printing.

    Rather than being built from wood or brick, the canal house is being printed on-site, where Logo-like plastic blocks provide the structure. Each room is printed separately before being assembled to connected floors and stacked to create the house.

    The "3D Print Canal House" is a proof-of-concept research project that aims to show how the construction industry can move towards a more sustainable, cost-effective model.

    Via: The Verge

    Image credit: Dus Architects

  • Rebuilding human faces

    Cardiff resident Stephen Power had his life turned upside down after a motorbike accident caused grievous injuries to his face.

    However, thanks to 3D printing in surgery, his face was reconstructed.

    Power shattered his nose, cheekbones, top jaw and fractured his skull through the accident, which left him in hospital for four months. 

    In an eight-hour procedure the patient describes as "life changing," surgeons at Morriston Hospital, Swansea printed guides, plates, and implants to repair injuries caused by the impact months after being inflicted. CT scans were used to create and print a symmetrical model of Power's head, before printing implants to match. The technology proved to be a success as it took the guesswork out of reconstructive surgical procedures.

    Via: BBC

    Image credit: Screenshot via BBC

Topic: Emerging Tech

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  • So, when can I print my own personal F-16?

    Parts is parts.
    It would be a tad bit more impressive when they can print entire assemblies with disparate materials.
    But they have to start someplace, so this is as good as can be expected for now.
  • Up to a point ...

    "This year, UK fighter jets have flown for the first time using parts created through 3D printing."

    But no critical parts; not one. Lids, knobs, covers ... trivia
    • Rocket engines good enough?

      NASA really likes experimenting with 3D printers, first printing food and now engines;
  • In time supply

    This technology has amazing application potential. Just imagine, you have a 3D printer that can be moved from place to place on a large cargo plane. You also have a plane that has been grounded because it is showing metal stress to the vertical stabilizer. You could fly the printer in and produce the part, reducing the down time and/or the need to stock parts at various bases. Commonly replaced parts could be produced when the printer is not on a particular job. It is not much of a stretch to have a multi head printer that can apply different materials in the production of more complex parts.
    • Not really feasable for most aircraft parts, I would imagine

      you can't just print off a critical part and install it in a plane as a replacement.

      That printed part needs to go through the same internal inspection process as a cast or machined part does, and that is a precise science using equipment that may not be transportable.

      How do you know that you didn't "print" in a stress? The last thing I would want is an uninspected printed turbine blade spinning in the engine next to me...
  • Pointless statement regarding printed guns:

    The truth of the matter is that printing your own gun is still both more expensive and more difficult that making one using conventional gunsmithing/fabrication methods. The fact that anyone handy with a lathe can make a rifle has never been a convincing argument on any side of the gun control debate.

    Stating "if everyone can print off their own guns, there's little point in gun control regulation" Is about as useful as stating "if everyone can grow their own pot there's little point drug legislation" or "if everyone brew their own beer, there's little point in taxing alcohol".
  • Re: Houses

    How would one of them stand under normal conditions.

    I live in an urban area where the houses on most streets are subject to quakes induced by traffic of heavy vehicles. Define that as meaning any vehicle bigger than a medium commercial vehicle which can cause your present house to shake as it passes by. And also add what the big tractor-trailers and city and intercity buses do and I see those houses not lasting more than six months.

    Now let's talk about "real" earthquakes. Real seismic events would bring such a house down so fast, it scares me to even think about it.

    So would I live in one of those?

  • Thanks, Charlie

    You do a great job covering the world of 3D printing in all its aspects. It's good to read about a developing technology and the ways it's being put to use for the good and less good of people around the world in such a positive light.

    I especially loved the coverage on the development and use of replacement body parts and prosthetics. I know this will be a boon to those who need them and will bring down the cost of the devices while making them more fitted to the individual at less cost to the manufacturers.
  • 3d printed humans and life sized mario kart

    I'll be blown to the Max if this happened.
    Raleigh Brecht
  • Not the safest for whom?

    Government? Criminals?

    "While potentially placing guns in the unlicensed hands of the general public isn't the safest option,"

    In the United States, where the right to keep and bear arms by the individual cannot be infringed, there is no other option.
    Licensing doesn't make a weapon any safer, it merely violates individual rights.
    • Exactly

      You are exactly correct. All that gun control legislation accomplishes is to put law-abiding citizens at a disadvantage, because criminals don't follow the law in the first place.

      Gun control legislation is exactly the opposite of what one would logically do if one desires to reduce violent crime. Just look at what has happened in states and nations with the strictest gun control laws: the murder rate has skyrocketed.

      In areas with strict gun control laws, criminals know that their victims are defenseless so they can commit their violent crimes with impunity.
  • The only point to gun control regulation

    is the subjugation of the citizenry. I'm sure Syria's Assad fully agrees with gun control regulation, along with every other despot in the world.

    "While innovative and potentially useful in the military, if everyone can print off their own guns, there's little point in gun control regulation."
  • The long term implications for manufacturing

    This phrase speaks volumes

    "You are suddenly not fixed in terms of where you have to manufacture these things. You can manufacture the products at whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there"

    After mechanisation and industrial robots comes another blow for the unskilled worker. Why pay someone to make anything when the printer can do it for you?

    The idea that we need a workforce to "support the ageing population" is becoming more and more bogus. Raw materials to feed into the printer suddenly seem more important - and of course, the more of us there are, the less raw material per person.