Myths and Truths of the 3-D Printing ‘Phenomenon’

Really great article about how 3D printing will compliment other manufacturing techniques, and what it’s really good for.

Never before have we had a technology where we can so freely translate our ideas into a tangible object with little regard to the machinery or skills available. Yet just as the microwave didn’t replace all other forms of cooking as initially predicted, 3-D printing will not replace other manufacturing technologies let alone industrial-scale ones for a variety of reasons. It will complement them.

via An Insider’s View of the Myths and Truths of the 3-D Printing ‘Phenomenon’ | Wired Opinion | Wired.com.

Pneumatic logic

The RepRap project was how I first learned about 3d printing. It has the remarkable mission, in that I’m remarking about it, of printing all of the parts to make another printer. Wow. Well, in principle, all of the circuits can be replaced with pneumatic ones. And also, you know, it might make a cool theme for a sci-fi flick. Just imagine a 3d printer printing with a background of hydraulic valves, pumps and hoses. Generate a pressure difference with steam and you’ve made a steam punk wet dream.

Insects au gratin

Insects Au Gratin looks for new ways of consuming insects and debates the nutritive and environmental aspects of insects as human food. One of the aspects that deters people from eating insects not only has to do with cultural background, but also with the aesthetics of the dishes themselves.

A project that takes insects, renders them into a sort of “flour” and then 3D prints edible objects with them. Watch the video to see the process in action.

via Susana Soares: Insects au gratin / Project.

How to 3-D Print the Skeleton of a Living Animal | Wired Science | Wired.com

Neat! The ability to visualize and handle 3D models of living animals internal organs and such could be a huge boon to surgeons, and make “exploratory” surgery much less common. I’ve not clue the risk/return comparison to be had between a CT scan (tons of radiation) and exploratory surgery, but I can imagine an overlap somewhere where this is preferred.

The idea to print skeletons from CT scans came from Evan Doney, an engineering student working in the lab of Matthew Leevy, who runs the biological imaging facility at the University of Notre Dame. ”At first I didn’t really know what the killer app would be, I just knew it would be really cool,” Leevy said. But he began to see new possibilities after striking up a conversation with an ear, nose, and throat specialist during an office visit for a sinus problem. “I actually got out my computer and showed him some slides, and by the end of it we were collaborating.”

Doney used several freeware programs to convert data from CT scans into a format that could be read by a 3-D printer. As a proof of principle, he and colleagues printed a rat skeleton in white plastic and printed a removable set of lungs in green or purple.

via How to 3-D Print the Skeleton of a Living Animal | Wired Science | Wired.com.

3D Printing Coming to Vending Machine Near You

Color me highly skeptical of this endeavor, given the touchy nature of today’s 3D printers. All of the printers I’ve seen require a human operator for routine maintenance and mucking about with leveling/settings/print bed issues that would seem to me to preclude the sort of reliability that you’d need to make an actual vending machine work out. But more power to these guys if they can make it work.

Combining the hyper-local convenience of Redbox with cutting edge technology, Dreambox is a vending machine that aims to fuel the 3D-printing revolution from the bottom up.

Dreambox was created by co-founders David Pastewka, Ricard Berwick and Will Drevno, who all met in a mobile application development class and competition at the University of California, Berkeley. Frustrated by their lack of accessible, on-campus 3D printing options and the two- to four-week lead time for online 3D printing services, the trio came up with the idea for a more ubiquitous option.

via 3D Printing Coming to Vending Machine Near You.

How doctors printed my new face – Telegraph

Another example of how 3D printing is revolutionizing certain medical procedures. Prior to the spread of 3D design and printing, this work was done by individual artists at huge expense and with often long turn around times…and, with no disrespect to the artists involved, often not as much precision and matching of existing structures.

By creating scans of what was left of his skull and using computers to recreate what his face would look like, they were able to use a new type of printer that builds up layer upon layer of nylon plastic to produce the exact components they would need.

via How doctors printed my new face – Telegraph.