For the past few years 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) has been slowly entering the cultural consciousness. Since it burst onto the scene, there have been numerous useful items that have been created through the process, along with some ridiculous items that are seemingly useless. I’m going to take you through a list here that should give you an idea of the things that are possible in the weird world of 3D printing.
Just over two years ago, a working gun was printed in US by the group Defense Distributed who then put the blueprints online for free. It took a year to finally print a working prototype, the group highly criticised by anti-gun campaigners throughout this time, but they got there eventually.
One of the more odd possibilities that has come out of 3D printing is the ability to print a model of your unborn child based on an ultrasound. Unsurprisingly, many people would feel uncomfortable with the rather frank depiction of the soon to be born child, so the company also offer the ability to have a 3D model of your baby printed once you’ve given birth.
It has to be said that I’m definitely not the biggest fan of high heels, but the ones that have been made through 3D printing have a really beautiful aesthetic. If I saw someone wearing these heels I would have to admit there is definitely something about them that lends itself to beauty. These things are close to art.
The ability to create stem cells through 3D printing is another discovery that took place around two years ago. The upsides to this are fairly self-explanatory. Much of the controversy surrounding the acquisition of these incredibly useful cells would be entirely extinguished if we were able to get them through 3D printing.
Cost effective, lightweight and easy to produce, many people are now using a 3D printed prosthetic. All major limbs can be made this way along with various other bodily items such as ears, fingers etc.
The ability to transplant a working organ into a human body that did not have to come from another human being would be a modern marvel. It would eliminate anytime needed to test all organs before they were taken from donors and it would mean that organs would not longer be a finite resource. It’s believed that the days of fully functioning 3D printed organs is probably not that far from us.