From Space And Agriculture To Fashion And Medicine, Explore All Of The Ways That 3d Printing Is Shaping The World We Live In Today
It's astounding to think that up until just a few years ago, the idea of being able to print out any real physical object you could imagine-- all safely at home-- was mostly considered the stuff of science fiction. Though the earliest 3D printing technologies can be traced back to 1986, when the first patent was issued for an SLA apparatus invented by Charles Hull, it was not until January 2009 that the first commercially available consumer 3D printer, the BfB RapMan, was put up for sale. The move was like the start of an avalanche. Soon 3D printers could be bought to use in anyone's living room or office, and the very idea of 3D printing became common knowledge for the very first time. 3D printing objects at home, however, is only the very tip of the iceberg. Fast-forward to today and 3D printing has been used to the develop the world's first fully drivable 3D-printed car, made up of 212 layers, and has enabled astronauts to quickly print much-needed tools on the International Space Station. One day soon, it could herald the start of a whole new way of farming, making clothes or building homes. We could even see the dawn of fully functional 3D-printed human organs. Let's take a look at the industries and innovations shaped by 3D printing today.
1. History
For some, 3D printing is a way to see the past in a new light. Bioartist Diemut Strebe began to develop Sugababe, an ongoing project that involved creating a living replica of Vincent van Gogh’s infamous ear. Using genetic material supplied by the living great-great-grandson of van Gogh’s brother combined with genetically engineered components, cells grew into an ear-shaped scaffold. A 3D printer was then used to shape the ear into the final replica - all using a 3D model created by Strebe with the only known photo of van Gogh’s right ear as reference.
Food production is another area that has garnered a significant amount of attention since the advent of consumer-level 3D printing. ln theory, all you have to do is 3D-print edible products instead of plastic, and it could transform the food industry. Today, 3D printers have been modified to create a wide variety of customisable foods, including sugar, ice cream, pasta, chocolate and even pizza. Foodini from Natural Machines, which is to be released for E830 later in 2015, is one such printer.
As liberating as the advent of consumer 3D printing was for artists, it has arguably been even more life-changing for jewellery designers. New 3D printer use Digital Light Processing projector to shine an image onto a resin, curing it into a solid to make very tiny, high resolution final prints that are perfect for jewellers. This means that designing and casting unique jewellery has become easier, more iterative and more accessible to the general population than ever before


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