No longer the preserve of sci-fi, 3D printers are getting cheaper and cheaper and they’ve already found their way into various parts of the world – toy making giant Hasbro uses them to print off toy parts during the concept stages and they’re even used in the medical world too. The possibilities are endless and life-changing: take at a look at how 3D printers will change your life.
From prosthetics to spare-bone parts and even artificial organs, 3D printers can print out life-changing replacements that can be fine-tuned right to the smallest measurement to ensure that patients get exactly what they need. We’ve seen a human skull replaced with 3D-printed materials, to exoskeletons fine tuned for children and even a 3D-printed jaw replacement: the medical world is a lot brighter thanks to 3D printing.
Need a new chair? Just print one. Prices for printing larger models are coming down and you can specify exactly what you want from your printed fittings no matter what it is. Whether it’s a simple coffee table, a bar stool or even an ergonomically designed chair just for you, you can be sure that 3D-printed furniture is going to be keeping IKEA execs up at night soon – unless they figure it out first.
Francis Bitonti along with Michael Schmidt and Shapeways made waves in the fashion world with a 3D printed dress draped on Dita Von Teese, and we can expect even more items of clothing to be on the way in the future. New Balance has begun to use 3D printing to make highly customised shoes for professional athletes and a variety of fashion designers have begun to use them to make other shoes such as high heels and even fabrics. What’s great is that they’re recyclable too and they require less labour, meaning it’s a much greener way to create clothing too.
Large scale 3D printers, like re:3D’s upcoming Gigabot, will be able to help out developing countries and communities for little cost, and can even use recycled plastic to print. Household items such as bowls, plates or even larger appliances like toilets can be printed for little cost and can help out third-world countries that struggle with basic needs.
Even the big toy makers use 3D printers at some point during the design process, and you can make your own playthings at home too. Being able to print your own toys is not only a viable business but it’s also massively creative. Imagine turning your child’s drawings into a 3D model that they can actually play with – they’ll think it’s just like magic.
Roll your own gadget accessories
Stop paying through the nose for a case every time you upgrade to a new phone, and start making your own. Nokia now provides 3D printing information so you can craft your own Nokia Lumia 820 cases, and that’s just the beginning: very soon, it’ll be a piece of cake to mock up your own Galaxy S4 or iPhone case with whatever images you want, and just hit Print to realise your creation.