It hasn’t been around long, and many folks don’t even know what it is yet, but there has been a huge expansion of interest in this medium. I’ve recently set up a shapeways shop myself where you can buy a few of my 3D printed models. I haven’t had time to really put much on there yet but I have so many ideas already forming..
I’m just getting started and expect to add to my collection of available models very soon.
There has been constant innovation in the field of 3D printing, and all the time I am finding things that amaze me. Just have a look at this video here from a company called objet.. Their products look amazing!
Here is another video of at their convention..
Nice.. If you think that dashboard was impressive, check this out..
Now, I would not necessarily want to drive a 3D printed plastic motorcycle, but some companies can also print metal objects. It won’t be long until you will be able to print your own custom motorcycle and actually have it run! Makes me want to get started designing a bike frame now.
Printing food is also going to be growing.. Sounds ridiculous but it is going to be awesome once it takes off, people liken it to the star trek replicator technology. Although you can be sure it won’t be nearly as instant as the replicators. The main issue is the time it takes to print food since the process as it is seems very slow, but I am sure there are ways of getting around all sort of issues like that by adding in more food preparation specific mechanics.
For example, having a wider nozzle on the extruder element, and various nozzle shapes would allow more complex decorations to be achieved. Adding in some sort of multi-axis spraying mechanism, would allow for you to airbrush colors on the food, etc. There are just tons of things you could add to this machine. Essentially what you would have is a miniature food processing plant in your kitchen you could use to make all sorts of custom designed elements for your meals.
Now what about health? 3D printing technology is already an obvious partner for the medical industry. Watch this brilliant video of Surgeon Anthony Atala giving a talk about 3D printing human organs.
In the near future, I can imagine it is not impossible that we could all be getting our bodies 3D scanned so that we could have something fixed if something bad happens. Kidney failure? Print a new one. Face gets smashed in a car accident? Print out your jaw bones, spray with the skin gun.
What if you get your teeth knocked out and your tooth is destroyed or lost? Well the dentist could have a 3D model of your teeth in which he could print you a replica of your exact tooth. It’s going to be awesome!
One thing I think might take quite some time, is figuring out how to print a replica of your brain. Might be kind of hard to install a new one though.