Until now, 3-D printers have been something of a novelty. The computer-controlled machines create three-dimensional objects from a variety of materials. Now, they are being discovered by everyday consumers. Jon Kalish reports.
3D printing replacement blood vessels!
Researchers at University of Pennsylvania say they may have found a way to create vasculatures using sugar and a 3-D printer. The design starts with sucrose and glucose and, with a custom RepRap 3-D printer, the scientists were able to turn the mixture into a free-standing, three dimensional vascular template.
Although the Burritobot’s canisters make it a robot cousin to Taco Bell’s sour cream guns, the idea of using 3-D printers for food is not new at all. A growing movement of geeks, makers, academics, and startups have been playing with the idea of personal fabricators for home use. The Fab@home Project over at Cornell University has developed 3-D printers in conjunction with the French Culinary Institute that create a wide range of foods. Fast Company has previously written about Cornell’s 3-D printed scallop nuggets that resemble tiny space shuttles; other foods successfully created inside 3-D printers include cakes, cookies, ramen noodles, and beef patties. Various startups, such as Essential Dynamics, are also working on the technology. These printers all work by creating “inks” out of edible ingredients that can then be turned into real foods via a few hours in the 3-D printer.
Yet another new business emerging from the drop in cost of 3D printing. Makie is a company that lets you design your own doll digitally, which they then will print, dress, and send to you. They look incredible, and this is just the beginning of the massively-customizable toy explosion that is headed our way.
I cannot adequately express how much I want to do this. Really fun use of 3D scanning and 3D printing by Disney here, and only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the future of toys. As this sort of thing drops in price, it’ll be available at every Toys-R-Us.
Guests attending Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World this year will have a chance to be captured by Darth Vader, frozen in carbonite, and mounted inside Jabba the Hutt’s lair – or at least a notch or two short of that.
Check out Cubify, a 3D printer for the non-hacker among us. Complete with wifi printing, cartridge-based printing media, and a design that is less hacker and more modernist architecture.
Preorder your very own Chocolate 3D printer! That is, a printer that uses chocolate as the print substance, NOT a printer made from chocolate.
Just so we’re clear.
“We could even see 3D printers reach into homes and become fabricators of domestic items, including medications. Perhaps with the introduction of carefully-controlled software apps, similar to the ones available from Apple, we could see consumers have access to a personal drug designer they could use at home to create the medication they need.”
Will your next home be a printed home?Along with this new technology will come a number of labor-reducing and cost-saving features. The number of people needed to build a home will drop by a factor of ten, maybe more.Over time, we may see old houses torn down with PacMan-like recycling machines, where the material is ground up, reformulated, and an entirely new house is printed in its place – all in less than one day.
Dr Hao told the BBC that chocolate printing, just like any other 3D printing technique, starts with a flat cross-section image – similar to that produced by ordinary printers turning out images, and then prints out chocolate layer by layer to create a 3D shape, without any moulding tools.