Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

Things you can print with a 3-D printer (10 items)

By , Deseret News

May 12, 2014

The rise of 3-D printing technology, or the ability to manufacture products simply by automating their construction through computer programming, has continued to produce a wide array of functional products.

The potential of 3-D printing has expanded to include items few ever dreamed could be created through automized production.

Here, we've compiled a list of 10 products that have now been successfully produced using 3-D printers. To help explain the phenomenon, we've also included the video above by the folks over at Mashable explaining the details of how, exactly, 3-D printing works.

1 of 10. Makeup

Harvard Business School graduate Grace Choi made waves at a recent Tech Crunch Disrupt conference where she demonstrated that she could print "a wearable color cosmetic."

By using regular printer ink and 3-D printer technology, Choi has created a printer that she calls "Mink" hoping to bring accessibility and affordability to all cosmetic colors.

"The little printer lets users choose any color on the web, or in the real world, and using simple already-existing software, print that color into a blush, eye shadow, lip gloss or any other type of makeup," Tech Crunch's Alyson Shontell wrote about Choi's printer.

"With Mink, users can satisfy the desire for instant gratification while still having access to any color in the world at an affordable price."

2 of 10. Guns

The first 3-D printed firearm was fired on May 5, 2013 and has since stirred up numerous debates about the possible dangers — or benefits — of allowing 3-D printed guns to go unregulated.

"A homemade gun built from schematics downloaded off the Internet is hardly new," Popular Mechanics' Adam Hadhazy wrote a few days after the first shot was fired.

But what the gun, known by its creators as "The Liberator," means for the possibilities of 3-D printing technology is unquestionably exciting.

3 of 10. Gold

While 3-D printers aren't capable of printing the element itself, the new technology does have the ability to create molded gold objects.

"With gold it’s a mix of the new and the old," Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen told Tech Crunch. "We print in wax actually."

By using wax as the starting model, gold becomes the wax's replacement after the wax has been encased in gypsum (a mineral used as a main component in plaster) and the wax is "burned out."

Thus creating gold products using the same printing technology, or "additive manufacturing" technology, as the other products on our list.

4 of 10. Houses

Chinese production company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering built 10 one-story houses in one day using 3-D printing technology, and they did so using all recycled materials.

"Industrial waste from demolished buildings is damaging our environment," Winsun CEO Ma Yihe, the designer of the printer used to build the houses, told International Business Times.

"With 3D-printing, we are able to recycle construction waste and turn it into new building materials."

According to the IBT, the 3-D printer not only constructed the shell of the houses, but also "took into account plumbing, electrical lining, insulation materials and windows," that would require tracing paths once the houses were complete.

5 of 10. Blood vessels

The next frontier for 3-D printing technology is health care, according to the National Journal.

"Yes, that's right," the Journal's Laura Ryan and Reena Flores wrote on May 9, "3-D printers could soon be able to make organs and arteries for transplants."

In fact, A professor at Rice University named Jordan Miller has already presented a 3-D printer capable of printing blood vessels on Capitol Hill.

"Printing full organs is still years away," Ryan and Flores wrote. But they also say that the printers' ability for customization mean the idea itself is certainly realizable.
1. maggieoldlady
Cardston, Canada, 00,
May 12, 2014

I can't imagine what might be possible with this. But the housing sounds like a wonderful use of it! Think of all the people who don't have homes who could afford them.

2. cjb
Bountiful, UT,
May 12, 2014

If it ever gets to the point where these printers can print things out of metal, the government would have to ban the printers or any gun ban would not be effective.