Uses of 3D Printing That Will Blow Your Mind

Wondering about the latest advancements in 3D printing? This technology can be viewed as being very futuristic, niche, and technical. Many people are reluctant to consider its application for their own business or themselves. This article presents ten applications of 3D Printing in various industries.

Surf fins

Surfers are unable to control their boards without fins. These small, but crucial pieces are usually a personal choice. The design of the fins was not as customizable before Westkust started designing 3D printable fins.

Westkust allows you to easily customize your board or fins. Open source means that the digital files are free. Download them, print the parts yourself or pay a 3D printer service to print them.

Coral Reef Restoration

Coral reefs have been negatively affected by global warming and other activities linked to humans for decades. This has led to a significant loss in the ecosystem. Coral reefs are vital for many reasons, including protecting shorelines, providing food to communities and economic support. Many businesses and groups have taken action to restore and protect the ecosystem. Some of them have even incorporated 3D printers into their strategy.

When installed in the right environment, 3D printed structures can stimulate new growth and expansion for coral reefs. The design of coral-like structures can be achieved by 3D printing organic-shaped parts in biodegradable or sustainable materials. Researchers can also easily scale up from lab experiments to full-scale structures in real-world settings using the 3D process.

Space Tools

What happens when a space station astronaut needs a new instrument? They had to wait until a shuttle launch was scheduled in advance to deliver supplies. Thanks to a 3D printer on the ISS they can now print tools and parts as needed.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, is the manager of the 3D printer program. The files are sent to the printer while it is in orbit. In less than a month, a team created, approved and printed an actual ratchet tool for the final test print of the printer program. The technology will be more valuable as crews travel farther and spend longer in space.

Anatomically correct organs

For years, doctors, scientists and biomedical engineering professionals have praised 3D printing’s applications in the field of medicine. The constant innovation of printers and materials has allowed for the printing of a wide range parts and tools used in clinical and research settings.

Biomodex, a company that recently started 3D printing training systems for cardiac procedures called transseptal pricking, is one example. They use materials that mimic both the appearance and feel of the human heart, allowing cardiologists to perform the procedure in an environment more realistic than before. It is hoped that more realistic training will lead to improved patient outcomes.

Musical Instruments

Musicians are taking advantage of 3D printing technology. From a simple kazoo to a complex violin/art installation. Musicians and manufacturers use the technology not only to print whole instruments but also replacement parts and accessories. It can save time and money when it comes to customizing and repairing instruments. We could also see new instruments created in the future that weren’t possible before 3D printing.

Wearable Technology

Google’s ATAP hardware invention studio (Advanced Technology and Projects), is developing wearable tech that can be directly integrated into clothing and connected with an app on your phone. Google’s platform, Jacquard, is basically a tag which can be used to perform digital actions by using motions such as swiping or tapping.

What role does 3D Printing play in this? Google has partnered up with Stratasys for the prototypes. PolyJet allows designers to use a wide range of colors and materials in the prototypes. These hyper-realistic prototyping reduces the risk of bringing a product to market, as it is easier to update and optimize features during the design process.

Jewelry

Since millennia, creating custom jewelry has been a tedious process. Jewelers are highly skilled professionals who work with small parts and tools to produce beautiful, long-lasting pieces of art. This will remain true, but 3D printing allows for the creation of delicate and personalized pieces much faster.

Zimarty, a jewelry manufacturer that harnesses the power of 3D-printing, is an excellent example. Recently, they combined math with fashion to create a collection of 3D-printed necklaces, rings and earrings based on Hilbert Curve. These pieces are made from a flexible, durable nylon material. A negative print of the jewelry piece can be used to cast the metal.

Athletic Shoes

Footwear is an excellent example of the progress made in the use of 3D printers over the years. Initially, 3D printing was used to create prototypes for new designs. However, it quickly became apparent that the technology could be used to produce end-use parts which are difficult to manufacture traditionally.

Adidas and 3D-printing company Carbon are working together on a 3D-printing process that will enable mass 3D printing for custom midsoles in their Futurecraft 4D shoes. Due to the variable properties of midsoles, injection molding or compression molding is not possible. The midsole can be customized using 3D printing based on the physiology of the customer and the activity that the shoe is intended for.

Formula 1 Car Parts

Companies that produce physical products as well as entertainment products can benefit from 3D printing. Since 1998, Formula 1 has used additive manufacturing to improve the performance of its vehicles and add excitement to their sport.

Formula 1 benefits from the ability to produce small quantities of customized parts in a short time. 3D printed parts are lighter, but still as durable as conventional parts. This makes them ideal for racing cars. Other motor racing companies have now begun to follow the example of Formula 1.

Edibles

It may not be necessary to 3D print some things, but it can make them more unique and interesting. Sugar Lab is a company which 3D prints candy art.

Sugar Lab created a printer using their sugar-water mixture as a sort of filament. The result is intricate geometric shapes which cannot be produced using candy-making methods.

Speak to us about the ways you can make the world better by integrating 3D-printing into your work.

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