There’s more to 3D printing than rapid prototyping…
3D printing is an industrial designer’s best friend. Designs that previously existed only on the computer screen can now be extruded and sintered directly in the studio, enabling creatives to move from concept to tangible prototype in a matter of minutes.
But 3D print’s potential goes beyond prototyping. Businesses around the world are exploring the use of 3D printing to create finished products – usable, saleable objects that emerge directly from the printer.
These early adopters’ novel applications are limited only by their imaginations. This article looks at five emerging businesses that are pushing 3D technologies to their limits. How do their products score on aesthetics… and on sheer ingenuity?
- A bow beyond
3D printing is a natural for clothing. Do you need reasonably-priced, custom-printed trainers for your unusually broad feet? Join the punters thronging to specialist makers like Oesh Shoes (https://oeshshoes.com/). But far-eastern start-up Monocircus are taking things a step further with pioneering fashion items like this 3D printed bow-tie. It simply couldn’t have been made by conventional means.
- Future foodstuffs
It’s a couple of years since 3D Systems announced its ChefJet Pro 3D, a printer that outputs custom-designed sweets and candy treats. Now working in partnership with US-based Brill, Inc., the company is touting upgraded versions that promise ‘fresh ideas and superior formulations that help our customers create a one-of-a-kind bakery experience.’
- Extrude your own drone
The UK’s University of Southampton is home to a novel self-assembly drone project. Once it rolls off the printer, the Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft (SULSA) can be snapped together in 10 minutes without screws or fasteners – just the thing for emerging economies.
- Oh, print me a home…
U.S. start-up Apis Cor ‘applies additive manufacturing to build houses robotically’. Its automatic arm shapes structures out of mortar and concrete in a manner that resembles icing a gigantic cake. To demonstrate its technology, the company built a 400-square-foot house in less than a day… at a cost of just $11,000.
- Build me up, buttercup!
Organovo, another U.S. start-up, is taking 3D printing to its logical extreme by printing human beings. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration! The company is yet to demo full-body cloning, but it has already shown off its versatility with a variety of bio-printed tissues: ‘liver, kidney, intestine, skin, vascular, bone, skeletal muscle, eye, breast and pancreatic tumor.’
Amey Plastics is a leading UK plastic manufacturer, specialising in injection moulding and 3D Printing services. If you’ve got a project or a concept that involves 3D printing or prototyping, get in touch today to find out how we could help by clicking here or call us on 01730 266525.