3D printing may seem like a very new technology, but it has actually been around for over three decades now. 3D printers have come a long way from the first few models though, which is why you have probably heard much more about them in the last couple of years. 3D printing is now being used everywhere, in all sorts of manufacturing and scientific fields. Want to know some of the most amazing ways that 3D printers have been put to use so far?
We may not be able to 3D print entire limbs just yet, but researchers have made stunning progress in printing kidneys, ears, skin, blood vessels, and even embryonic stem cells. Though the time will definitely come, not all of these 3D printed tissues and organs are ready to be used in humans quite yet. However, until then, 3D printing is allowing scientists to create incredibly lifelike prosthetics and artificial limbs. Some patients have even received replacement, 3D printed bones!
It may not sound all that appetizing, but the 3D printing of food may provide a potential avenue for dealing with world hunger and for providing astronauts with enough sustenance for a long space journey. It should therefore come as no surprise that NASA put a $125,000 grant towards the creation of pizza printer. Well, you might still be surprised, but at least now you know why they did it!
People come in all different shapes, and yet most stores carry only a few basic shirt and pant sizes, for obvious economic reasons. But image if you could print your own clothes to your exact specifications! Runway model Dita Von Teese was able to do just that when she wore a 3D printed gown that fit her figure like a glove. Shoes are also on the forefront of 3D printed clothing, with New Balance leading the way on scanning their customer’s feet and printing out the perfect pair of shoes for them.
Car companies have, for a while now, been using 3D printers to make prototypes for car parts. Car collectors have taken this further by printing out actual car parts that are hard or even impossible to find for their classic cars.
In the future, entire cars may even be created by 3D printers. An example of this sort of technology is a car named the Urbee 2. The Urbee 2 was made almost entirely from 3D printed parts, and, while not quite up to Highway Code yet, its creators plan to drive it across the United States as soon as it is.
5 NASA Rovers
Finally, NASA has even begun making some of their rovers out of 3D printed, heat-resistant parts. Some of these parts include the camera mounts, doors, and the rover’s vents. The fact that these parts can be printed provides a great boon to future exploration of the moon or even mars, as it means that astronauts would be able to print replacement parts as-needed, instead of having to bring all of the parts with them.