Unusual and odd uses for 3D printing

Now that 3D printing has gone beyond the world of manufacturing, we're seeing a number of interesting and, frankly, odd uses of the technology.
1 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

A food 3D printer

Natural Machines has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Foodini 3D food printer.

The Foodini Printer comes with empty capsules, which the user fills with whatever foods they wish. By using the device's touchscreen display, you then choose the shape and settings you want in order to create your dish. There are also pre-programmed recipes for dishes, including pumpkin gnocchi, pizza, cookies, and burgers.

The point of the invention is to take away the hassle of cooking, but encourage you to use fresh food rather than sticking to pre-packaged, preservative-laden options.

With 22 days to go, $48,452 has been pledged of a $100,000 goal.

Via: Kickstarter

Image credit: Natural Machines

2 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

3D models of your unborn child

For expectant parents, the recent option of taking home a 3D-scan photo of your unborn child is a popular memento.

Taking things further, Japanese firm Fasotec is exploiting this business niche, and offers you something called "Shape of the Angel."

If a photo isn't enough, take home a 3D model of your to-be family addition.

Created through an MRI scan, an image of your child is given dimensional shape through software, before being manufactured through white resin and a 3D printer. Each model costs roughly $1,000 and measures 90x60x40mm.

Via: SmartPlanet

Image credit: Fasotec

3 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Turning dolls medieval

Barbie: fashion, mermaids, dream houses, and style dolls. How about warrior?

Jim Rodda, a 3D-printing enthusiast, wants to develop an open-source 3D printed suit of plate mail compatible with Barbie fashion dolls. Dubbed Faire Play, the armor files will be distributed digitally and can be created from a range of materials.

As strange as the invention is — although perhaps it is a welcome change from the usual clothes Barbie dolls wear — the funding campaign has gone beyond its original goal of $5,000.

Via: Kickstarter

Image credit: Faire Play

4 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Printing personalized sex toys

If you want to add creative flair to your bedroom toys, Makerlove.com offers a variety of free sex toy design files so you can print products from your home 3D printer.

The company's range includes both standard shapes and the bizarre (think Justin Beiber), and the firm recommends you buy vibrating motors from Vibrators.com, which is sponsoring the project.

Via: Makerlove

Image credit: Makerlove

5 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

3D printed bikinis

The N12 bikini is the first ready-to-wear garment produced purely through 3D printing technology.

Designed by Continuum fashion, in cooperation with the Shapeways 3D Printing online printing store, the N-12 is composed of tiny nylon disks that hook together. Each component — including the strap, cups, and halter — are printed and sold separately, amounting to roughly $300 to own one for yourself once you snap each part together.

Via: Continuum Fashion

Image credit: Continuum Fashion

6 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Making your own bagpipes and guitars

3D printing can supply us with medical devices, guns, and vehicle parts, but it can also include the musical realm.

In two examples, the Dreaming Pipes project on Kickstarter wants to allow 3D printing enthusiasts to create their own set of bagpipes at home. Considering the cost of traditional models, such a scheme could bring more pipe players into the fold.

Secondly, the ATOM 3D printed guitar is on sale. Inspired by Les Paul, the bodies are fully printed from nylon, and each feature a wooden inner core. Dyed to order, each 3D printed guitar will set you back $3500.

Via: 3dppvd.org | odd.org.nz

Image credit: 3dppvd.org | Atom

7 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

3D printed meats

The future production of food is likely to be a problem as the human population expands and so do our meat requirements. Beyond scientists that are trying to create test-tube burger meat in labs to prepare for the potential crisis, the Thiel Foundation has awarded Modern Meadow funds to try and create bioprinted meat to satisfy the human need for protein.

The image above, created by Modern Meadow, shows how many resources are consumed through livestock raising and meat production. In contrast, the company wants to use 3D printing to create synthetic meat in a less resource-hungry manner.


Image credit: Modern Meadow

8 of 8 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

3D mugshots from DNA

The analysis of crime scenes and witness reports can be more of an art than a science.

One problem is that witnesses may not recall a face clearly, and so investigators run the risk of sending the wrong suspect behind bars if they rely too heavily on this kind of evidence.

However, new technology promises to change that.

Mark Shriver, of Pennsylvania State University, and colleagues have spent months gathering 3D images and the DNA of hundreds of volunteers. Over time, they managed to plot over 7,000 facial points of reference, which has then been fed in to software that links similarities between facial features, DNA, race, and gender.

The team found that only 20 genes with 24 variants proved to be "reliable indicators" of facial shapes — and by using 3D printing, human heads with resemblance to the volunteers were created based on their DNA. If there is DNA at a crime scene, it is possible that suspects can be discovered, and witness reports may be less of a factor in proving a crime. 

Via: SmartPlanet

Image credit: PLOS ONE

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