The 3D printer, a device which came out in 1984, and having been used in industrial conditions for 20 years,
has finally caught the public eye, and has become available for common man. Over the past few years, the technology has not only become more refined, but incredibly cheaper as well, and therefore more readily available for public use. Companies such as Stratasys, and Cube have made the 3D printer available for as little as $300, and fairly simple to operate.
With any technological item that fosters so much room for creativity, and potential for mind-blowing feats, we often see incredible ideas, and uses of the technology at hand, further expanding it’s range of utilization. The same is with the 3D printer. While most people have stuck with printing napkin holders, and life-size models of Yoda, here are some extraordinary things that people are doing with their 3D printers.
Custom Designed Surfboards
MADE Boards, a company that is a part of an ongoing Kickstarter project, is using 3D printers to design surfboards that are custom designed for each surfer. Using the mobile app for MADE Boards, customers can figure out which board shape and style is best for them, and then MADE will build that board. The internal structure of the surfboard is made using the 3D printer. Shannon Marks, MADE Board’s founder says that 3D printing allows the company to take into account the surfer’s geographical location, the way he or she rides their surfboards, and uses this performance data to influence the design of the surfboard. All this data is collected using the MADE app, and cross-references weather, wave-speed, and wind direction to give customers the most personalized surfboard they can get.
3D Printed Home
DUS architects, an Amsterdam based Dutch firm, plans on using a 3D printer to build a home. The firm is using a nearly 20 foot 3D printer called the KamerMaker to build parts of the house from plastic. The firm says the process has already begun, and that they aim to have the entire front of the house build by the end of the year, and that a 3D printed kitchen, study, storage, and guestroom are soon going to be added to the building.
Using cells and a 3D printer, researcher Stuart Williams, claims that all human organs, including the heart, can be printed, using the 3D printer to create ‘bioficial organs’, within the next 10 years. These organs will essentially be made out of the patient’s own cells, a detail which will rule out the medical danger of patients “rejecting” donor organs. “Treatments for heart disease right now,” Williams says, “often involve devices that don’t cure the disease, but what they certainly do is prolong life and allow patients to get out of bed in the morning. The total bioficial heart concept is a cure for cardiovascular diseases.”