3D printing has been around for years and has nestled its way into lots of companies' product development processes as a more effective way to produce prototype products, test functional parts, and perhaps even pump out limited-run production parts.
Yet in addition to that so-called serious product development and engineering work, there's a significant number of less serious, but equally important, efforts underway. These are pushing the limits of 3D printing toward more consumer-friendly -- even quirky, some might say -- applications. We're talking 3D-printed chocolate, 3D-printed fabric and clothes, and even 3D-printed body parts.
Click the image below to see 16 examples of some of the more creative 3D printing projects out there.
This 3D printed guitar, one of the many creations of Derek Manson, director at the one.61 product development firm, sports a body made from a polycarbonate polymer along with a central core, which is CNC-machined from wood. (Source: one.61)
I agree. I could see rather than having everything in stock you would only need to have the CAD/CAM programs from the manufacturer and make as needed. That could extend to so many other industries as well.
Definitely Cadman-LT. Automotive, simple household hardware items, boat parts, appliances, the list is endless. How annoying is it when the appliance guy comes to the house (sorry Made by Monkeys readers who fix stuff on their own) and they just need one simple part for your fix and they don't have it. One, sometimes two visits later (because they got the wrong part), your appliance is fixed, but you've been without it for weeks. Imagine if they could download a simple CAD part file and print the part right in their repair truck. Beautiful!
Or when you or your husband have to go to the hardware store multiple times to get the right part, because you have to bring it home, try it out and see if it works or not, and if not bring it back and repeat the cycle. If you live out in the boonies like I do, that's a lot of trips. I like Chuck's idea, too, for car parts at the local garage.
A lot of trips and a lot of extra hardware hanging around the house that you never end up returning and then have to eat the cost. Small dollars, but they can add up. 3D printed parts would be much kinder on the household repair budget.
That reminds me, we have to reorganize all that extra hardware in the garage this summer, an annual project. Once in awhile we find a use for an odd part, but it does seem like the inventory just keeps growing.
I have a friend I go to for many of my pc needs. He gets bulk hardware from this auction house. Well, the other day I went over to pick up a "new" laptop for myself and he was showing me some of his recent buys. He resells most of his stuff on ebay. Anyways, he was amazed that he was selling this "ink" for so much money. So I inquired as to what kind of ink this was. It turned out to be for 3d printers. He had no idea what that even was! :) Too bad he didn't have a printer to go with the ink. I would have bought that for sure!
I also found that to be very very funny. I've been talking about those 3D printers for the last month or so and they seem to be almost everywhere now, but I never thought I would see that. I mean, I just never imagined it would show up in my life like that. I also don't really understand why they would have sold that ink in the first place. It is possible that someone was picking things up for auction and they just thought it was regular ink by mistake and threw it in. It was labeled as "ink", well sort-of. It was labeled "solid-ink". Afterall, my friend thought it was just "ink"...lol
My inventory is always growing. It's an entire room of my house now. I can't seem to get myself to throw anything away. Plus, I like to have a large inventory of parts to choose from. It's always nice when I am working on something and I'm like...oh I need a "whatever" and I can just go grab one off the shelf! I'm always afraid that if I throw something out that eventually I'll be...oh yeah, I had a bunch of those, but I threw them away! argh!
Ann, I've done that, going to the store multiple times..but I usually keep everything I get thinking I'll need it eventually. I like the idea of making what you need right at home with NO trip to the store. I'm kinda in the boonies as well. 10 bucks in gas or in ink? least for the ink you get exactly what you want, maybe even something that isn't made....yet
It is pretty amazing how widespread the talk is now around 3D printing, especially when they really have toiled away in relative obscurity in the past. I think your comments around the pricey ink bring up a real issue (and potential problem) with 3D printing becoming more accessible. The materials to "print" parts or prototype products is expensive and the actual maintenance and upkeep of these printers is actually pretty involved. It's not like an office printer that you can pretty much put on auto pilot with semi-regular upkeep. These printers involve a lot more care and tending, particularly if they're used to products parts and products that require any kind of realistic tolerances.
solidThinking updated its Inspire program with a multitude of features to expedite the conception and prototype process. The latest version lets users blend design with engineering and manufacturing constraints to produce the cheapest, most efficient design before production.
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.
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