Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What Is 3D Printing Anyway?

The relatively new, old joke is: "I'm going to start a new business, I'm going to buy a 3D printer and print my own 3D printer!"

3D printing is quite simply the layered printing of an object in 3 dimension (height, width and depth). So who actually 'needs' this 3D printing? We've done quite well until now without it, so who can benefit from it? I guess people who are far from home or away from the normal lines of production can get unique items printed for them. A model replica of an expensive car, like a 1960 Aston Martin DB5 in a 1:3 scale could be built and then crashed and burned for entertainment, like how the makers of the James Bond flick,Skyfall did.

What can be made and why print it as opposed to buy it? Money. Filthy lucre. Dollars, Pounds, Euros and even Zlotys. The cost of certain items makes them unavailable to the larger market, printing them is cheap and even though the quality won't be the same, the result is still better than nothing:

A Perfectly Functioning Rifle Magazine

Magazine restrictions is the way in which the US government has restricted the proliferation of automatic firearms. So will gun laws ever be enforceable? Not any more I guess:

Your Unborn Baby

Parts For Decommissioning A Nuclear Power Plant

Sellafield, western Europe’s largest and most complex nuclear waste site, is using 3D printing to help them decommission some of the most potentially hazardous plants in the world.

It will use 3D printing to replace parts that are no longer made – many of which were one-off designs from 50 years ago – to save time and money when those running the nuclear facility have faced growing criticism for soaring decommissioning costs. These are estimated to total £70bn.

3D printing could save millions of pounds at Sellafield, with the company already identifying several hundred thousand pounds worth of benefit. It is believed to be one of the first nuclear sites to use 3D printing to manufacture parts.

A House - For $5,000

A Chinese company harnessed 3D-printing technology to build 10 one-story houses in a day — a cheaper, faster and safer alternative to more traditional construction.

Or there is the Dutch company that is building a canal house (which can be seen here), where each room is being made individually. A great idea!

A Knife

So who cares about printing a knife? Well I guess the TSA or FBI because x-ray machines can no longer rely on such implements being made of metal. We all know that prisoners make all kinds of lethal weapons using nothing more than a toothbrush and a paperclip - so will the knife cut paper?

Your Face

The survivor of a serious motorbike crash has made surgical history after his entire face was rebuilt using 3D printed parts.

Stephen Power is thought to be one of the first trauma patients in the world to have 3D printing technology used at every stage of the medical procedure to restore his looks.

Doctors at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, had to break his cheekbones again before rebuilding his face in an eight-hour operation.

Despite wearing a crash helmet Mr Power, 29, suffered multiple trauma injuries in the accident in 2012, which left him in hospital for four months.

“I can't remember the accident - I remember five minutes before and then waking up in the hospital a few months later. I broke both cheek bones, top jaw, my nose and fractured my skull," he said.


3D Printing in medicine - 3D Printed Cast Speeds Bone Recovery Using Ultrasound

How to manufacture your 3D Printed object: http://t.co/Hc2pwrWA1v



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