We've already seen many cases of the innovative push 3D printing is inspiring all over the map. The 3D printing revolution seems to have a knack for quickly moving technology ahead by way of collaborative effort and even a little friendly competition -- all of course in the name of scientific advancement. With such a large spread of applications, there is news of 3D printing's ongoing role in the medical field and in support of space exploration.
A 3D-printed skull made out of polyetherketoneketone was used as an implant to replace 75 percent of an unknown patient's missing skull. (Source: Resources2.news.com)
As 3D printing becomes more widespread, the question of what more the technology can be used to achieve naturally arises. Since 3D printers are already being used to print out globs of stem cells and makeshift, affordable prosthetics, why not print out entire bone replacements? That's exactly what Oxford Performance Materials in Connecticut has accomplished by gaining the FDA's approval to scan and print out the missing 75 percent of a man's skull to be used as an implant. The 3D-printed bone replacement was constructed by first scanning the patient's entire skull.
Once the missing portions were laid out, small texture and surface adjustments were made to the final polyetherketoneketone skull design to promote bone and tissue growth upon the implant's surgical insertion. Ultimately, the company believes that many people can benefit from this technology and that there's no apparent reason why this it be used to repair other damaged areas throughout the human body.
On the space exploration front, a competition set up by the folks at DIYRockets has its eyes set on improving satellite technology by recruiting help from interested competitors worldwide. Oh, and there's prizes, too! The goal of the program is to inspire rapid innovation through the design of a 3D-printed stainless-steel propulsion system that will carry a nano-satellite equipped with all necessary onboard electronics into Low Earth Orbit. Registration for the competition is closed, but you can check out the winners when they are announced in July. Submissions are being judged on technical, business case, and collaborative design criteria to help stimulate well-thought-out competition entries. The winner will receive a $5,000 prize from Sunglass for best rocket engine, with additional $2,500 prizes awarded to the best student-led team and to the best collaborative design effort. For more info on the competition, head on over to the DIYRockets website.
As 3D printing continues to expand its influential spark on rapid technological innovation, we ask ourselves, again... What's next for 3D printing?
Yes, in many product development arenas, using 3D printing to make quick prototypes is quite common. This is especially effective on concurrent engineering teams where quick feedback and multiple design iterations can be used to rapidly get to market.
Very cool mrdon - I just put your book on "the list" for our family to get in the near future. Isn't it great to work with your spouse on projects?! When things aren't working I always blame the HW and Phil always blames the SW LOL. Off topic for this forum but relates to our discussion since we are both authors - I am literally just putting the finishing touches on this website for a book I have written: www.love2christ.com I couldn't have done it without the support of my husband. Best wishes on your book sales and future projects!
Very good point. Software can be tricky and I never take it for granted that its easy to use.If you do run into a challenge with a 3D printer project, I believe the support from the Maker Community and Makerbot will alleviate some of the stress.
Its nice you and your husband work on tech projects together. The DIY electronics tech books I've written and are writing today my wife provides editing and tech support on assembly of the electronic projects. Here's my latest book for building cool electronic gadgets using the Arduino.
Not to be skeptical mrdon, but every time my husband tries to rope me in on a project (we sometimes do projects together - he does most of the HW and I do most of the SW) he always comes in with the idea that the programming won't be difficult for the same reasons you mentioned. I guess what is "difficult" is all in your perspective!
I agree. The article was very interesting. The solutions that 3D printers are solving are mind boggling and shows the spirit of human innovation at its finest. The video of the 3D printed rocket engine was very impressive. I believe using a 3D printer is not difficult because of the machine's ease of use, the online support from folks like Makerbot, and the free CAD software and files being shared by the online community of Makers. Nice article Cabe!
Fascinating article, Cabe - thanks for the peek at some amazing technology. Both applications are so exciting and the possibilities are mind boggling. How cool it would be to prototype designs digitally - just print it out! I see a lot of articles about 3D printing on here but have never seen a 3D printer myself - how accessible is it becoming for the average engineer and what skill sets are needed to utilize one?
MIT students modified a 3D printer to enable it to print more than one object and print on top of existing printed objects. All of this was made possible by modifying a Solidoodle with a height measuring laser.
Siemens released Intosite, a cloud-based, location-aware SaaS app that lets users navigate a virtual production facility in much of the same fashion as traversing through Google Earth. Users can access PLM, IT, and other pertinent information for specific points on a factory floor or at an outdoor location.
Sharon Glotzer and David Pine are hoping to create the first liquid hard drive with liquid nanoparticles that can store 1TB per teaspoon. They aren't the first to find potential data stores, as Harvard researchers have stored 700 TB inside a gram of DNA.
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