It seems as if everything these days is being 3D printed. We have seen many different items -- bathing suits, shoes, and even guns and cars -- 3D printed and it is truly transforming how we are making things.
With the price of 3D printers coming down, more people will be able to bring them into their home and really start experimenting. The amount of things that we can create with 3D printers looks to be limitless. Even NASA recently said that it is experimenting with 3D printing to make space parts.
Some of our favorite 3D printed items we have discovered over the years are KOR EcoLogic and Stratasys' energy-efficient Urbee car, LayerWise's jaw that was used in a transplant, and Stratasys' dress that was featured on the Paris runway.
We have also come across some new creations that are quickly becoming favorites. These include Autodesk and Stratasys's audio speakers embedded with LED lights to create a light show, iPhone cases, and Nike's lightweight Vapor Laser Talon cleats.
Click below to start the slideshow of some our favorite 3D-printed creations. This is a sampling; we know there are many amazing things being done, that we have not included. Please tell us about them in the comments section below.
Architects Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger have revealed a prototype for the world’s first 3D-printed room. Named Digital Grotesque, the full-scale ornate room by Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger will have 80 million surfaces rendered in smooth sandstone, with certain parts glazed and gilded. A 1:3 scale prototype of the room was shown at the Swiss Arts Awards 2013 in Basel and at the Materializing Exhibition in Tokyo in June. (Source: dezeen.com/Hansmeyer & Dillenburger)
Yes, Ann, good point. It will probably take awhile before materials advance to the point where they would be comfortable. Still, it's a nice idea to think about...and I imagine someday the technology will catch up!
Most of the items shown are gimmicks, in the sense that they were created solely to demonstrate the ability to make them by 3-D printing. For example, the stool could be far stronger and cheaper if made from wood. The plastic shoes and phone stand also look as though they could be made better and cheaper by conventional plastic molding. I have to admit that the gown, whether practical or not, is certainly besutiful on the model. Not so the cape.
The item that best exploits the one-of-a-kind capability of 3-D printing is the custom prosthetic jaw.
I can see an interesting area of the "more robotic" 3D printing, a bit more like the chocolate machine. Consider making stuff out of ceramics by laying down a string of that "slip" material. Another possibility would be building structures from long-strand fiberglass with a resin coating applied as it is extruded. Also, how about extruding a larger diameter string of glass fiber stiffened concrete to make outdoor furniture.
The very thin layers are fine for those items needing very fine details, but there is a whole huge realm of things built up with much coarser details. Of course, at some point it becomes much more a robotic process instead of the very thin process that we are familiar with. As we open up to somewhat different approaches the realm of things that can be produced grows very large. Of course, the robotic printing process will need a whole new level of robot direction software for it to be able to work from a cad file of some sort, but in that area the software will be the only obstacle, since industrial robots are a quite mature technology, as far as the hardware goes.
So if somebody takes one of these ideas and gets rich with it, just remember where the suggestion came from, keep the money and give me the credit.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.