We knew 2014 would be a huge year for printing, and barely two months in we are not disappointed. Even our Bots here at Brit + Co. have been busy filling Brit + Co SF with the sweet waffle-y smell of freshly-printed 3D goodness. From serious advancements in medicine to at-home printing hacks we could watch on YouTube all day, take a look at some of the latest 3D printing projects.
1. Surgeon Draws New Cells: The BioPen is a mini printer that might soon bring 3D technology into the ER to help regenerate cartilage in anything from sports injuries to age-related degeneration. The pen (which was made using a printer as well) acts like a handheld 3D printer to deposit gel made of stem cells and biodegradable seaweed extract in layers right at the site of an injury. An ultraviolet light on the pen sets the gel in place, and then the cells can multiply to form functioning tissue.
2. Digital Natives Sculptures: Created in 2012, these were on display for oo-ing and ahh-ing at this year’s New York 3D Print Show. To make these beautiful works of art, household items were 3D scanned using a digital camera and subjected to algorithms that distorted them into new forms and printed. We’ll take one in every size, color and shape, thank you very much.
3. Print Your Unborn Fetus: In news that will not creep you out at all (okay, maybe a tiny bit), you can now submit your 3D or 4D ultrasound images or newborn baby photos to receive a “unique artistic representation of your baby” using 3D printing in sizes: “mini,” “halfsize” or “lifesize.” Aww?
4. 3D Printed Skis: 3D printing company Stratasys has carved out a new way to hit the slopes that we give a 10. Taking into account the basic requirements of modern skis, they created a pair of fully functional (as in, they’ve taken them for a few test runs already) pair using custom tooling designed in SolidWorks. The snow may not be up to par this year, but at least your skis could be — if this catches on, skiers and boarders could purchase equipment tailored directly to their exact specifications.
5. Music Box: Remember the little music boxes of your childhood that you would up to play a song while a ballerina spun around? This is like that only cooler. You compose a little 16-note ditty and get it printed into a music box that will play the personally penned song when you turn a small crank.
6. 3D Printed Sugar Sculptures: The Sugar Lab creates these sweet sculptures by using a simple printing process. An alcohol and water mixture prints out in layers that hardens into a sugary substance. The edible works of structural spun sugar art could pop up as the cake toppers and centerpieces of the future. In fact, the Sugar Lab is currently concocting a 3D printed sugar stand for a four-tiered wedding cake.
8. Air Hockey Robot Project: Please stop all entries for Coolest Dad of the Year Awards — Jose Julio takes the title for 2014 after creating an air hockey robot for his daughter using parts of a 3D printer and a PS3 Eye connected to a PC. Make your own at home and vy for second place using his tutorial here.
9. Printed Corset: Here’s hoping custom fit lingerie leads the 3D printing fashion revolution. Until then, you can download the STL files for this Muse Corset on Thingiverse or design your own for a more perfect fit.
10. 3D Printed Valentine: Cupid had to get creative this year with new technology taking over the Valentine’s Day gift field and we love this sweet-and-geeky take on the card. It might be belated at this point, but you can create this part science experiment, part craft project card using LEDs, coin cell batteries, bare conductive paint, copper foil tape and a 3D printer.
11. Bring Mark Home Early: Remember when we told you about Mark, the world’s first carbon fiber 3D printer? His ship date just got moved up, so take that $4,999 you’ve been saving for a rainy day and pre-order your Mark One today to receive mid-year.
12. At-Home DC-Motorized Printer: Experts say we will all have 3D printers in our homes within the next five years, but RAPPY was hoping to shorten that timeline with a Kickstarter campaign for their $699 high-resolution 3D printer that runs using a DC motor commonly found inside toys. Unfortunately, the campaign ended over the weekend when they came up short on their funding goal of $100,000. Learn more about RAPPY and stay up-to-date on their status here.
What 3D printing news of 2014 has you most excited so far? Share it below!