3D printers have been around for quite a while now and are used to create some amazing things. Check out 10 inventors who took the process of printing in 3D to a whole other level.
13D Ice Cream
You scream, I scream, we all transform an off-the-shelf Cuisinart soft-serve maker to extrude super-cooled and 3D-printed shells of ice cream! Three students at MIT – Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker, and David Donghyun Kim – have created a homemade ice cream printer that extrudes soft serve and immediately freezes it so that it can be layered on a cooled plate.
The system is in the development stages right now, but these innovators were able to print some clever shapes out of the sweet, sweet cream, nonetheless.
While they have no plans to commercialize it as of yet, it still seems like a clever and very useful hack.
23D Printing of M.C. Escher's Impossible Structures
M.C. Escher's two-dimensional renderings of impossible feats of architecture are endlessly fascinating to look at, precisely because they could not exist as three-dimensional objects. Or could they?
Gershon Elber, a computer science professor at the Israel Institute of Technology, has manipulated Escher's optical illusions so that they can be fabricated with a 3D printer.
So just how does Elber create 3D versions of creations like Escher's Belvedere and Waterfall? Well, he cheats. Just as the objects appear plausible in 2D, so too can 3D objects replicate the illusion if viewed from a certain angle. Using computer-aided design software, Elber manipulated illusions designed by Escher and others so that they could be fabricated as a physical object, while maintaining the illusion from that one angle. He then used a 3D printer to fabricate the resulting objects.
Seeing the illusions in 3D is a strange experience. At first glance, these do look like solutions to the problems posed by the illusions, but then when the objects are rotated, we see all the wonky components used in their creation. Elber has more of these 3D illusions at his site, Escher Made Real.
33D Printed Buildings
It might not exactly sound appealing to live in, but a Chinese company has constructed two buildings using a 3D printer that recycles industrial waste to form new building material.
Shanghai-based Winsun has been showing off the two neighboring projects, one an 1100-square-meter villa, the other a 6-story residential block, in the Chinese city of Suzhou. The residential block is the world's tallest 3D-printed building, according to the company.
It took Winsun a day to print out one level of the residential block, and then five more to put the level together. As for the villa, both the interior and exterior of the home were created using the company's 3D printing tech.
The company's printers are 6.6 meters tall, and work by secreting layers of construction material on top each other to form densely packed building blocks. The “ink” is mainly a mixture of cement and glass fiber.
43D Printed Batman Suit
Steven Dee of Crimson Coscrafts had the brilliant idea to use a 3D printer to print out an exact copy of the Dark Knight suit from the Batman: Arkham Origins game.
FYI the cape and the under suit were not printed. However, everything else was printed and as you'll see, it's pretty awesome.
Dee also had some help from Tunda Designs and Gauntlet FX on the project, and as you can see, the end results looks quite good.
53D Printed Prosthetic Iron Man Hand
No, it's not Robert Downey Jr., but check out the 3D printer technology that has worked its magic to craft a prosthetic Iron Man-like hand. This is not for a spoof of the Marvel motion picture, but to fulfill a kindergarten kid's wish, who suffers from a rare ailment.
Keith Harris was born with a deformed right hand caused by a rare condition called symbrachydactyly. Mother Kim Harris said her son has come out of his shell with the new hand.
Keith got his 3D hand through a group called the E-Nable Organization. A volunteer in North Carolina created the hand, which cost only $45. A new prosthetic would have been too expensive, about $40,000, and would have lasted only as long as Keith didn't grow.
63d Printed Diamond Ring
It looks like 3D printing has now entered into the world of jewelry, and we aren't talking about little plastic trinkets, either.
No, this 3D printing involves gold, diamonds, and pearls. Doesn't that sound like a Prince song? Visitors to American Pearl will be given the ability to create, customize and design their very own ring to compliment either a pearl or a diamond. Once you complete your design and purchase it, your ring will be printed to a Solidscape T76 printer. The 3D mold is printed and then taken to a casting facility for the metal of your choice to be poured over it.
Once everything is formed over the mold, it is then buffed, polished, and the gem is inserted into the ring-setting.
Who ever said romance is dead?
73D Printed Canine Legs
Derby was born with malformed front legs. He can't walk normally on them. His owners found a solution from the company 3DSystems. The engineers there designed and printed out prosthetic legs for Derby to use.
The legs have rounded feet. This unusual design serves an important purpose. Peg-like prosthetic feet can get stuck into the ground easily. Derby's rounded legs, however, let him keep going over small obstacles.
Derby's owners report that he now runs at least 2-3 miles every day--and faster than they can! He certainly looks happy about his new legs, too.
83D Printed Practicing Skulls
Two-year-old Violet Pietrok's facial bones didn't fuse together prenatally, leaving her with a syndrome called Tessier Cleft. Her eyes were so far apart that she couldn't see properly, and her nose had no cartilage.
Dr. John Meara at Boston Children's Hospital wanted to help Violet. He had done this kind of surgery before, but every patient is different, and the bone reconstruction will be different for each one. That's where 3D printing comes in. Dr. Meara had his colleague Dr. Peter Weinstock make 3D models of the toddler's skull, using data from magnetic resonance imaging. Meara was able to practice with four skull models, in order to develop the best plan for Violet's surgery ahead of time.
Dr. Meara was able to move Violet's eyes closer together and eliminate a large hole in her forehead. She will have more surgery as she grows, but the first step was made much easier by the practice skulls.
93d Printed Guitar
ODD Guitars is a company in New Zealand that makes guitars using Selective Laser Sintering. The company explains on its site that the components are built by “spreading a thin layer of nylon powder, which is then fused in the correct locations for that particular slice of the component”.
"The layer is then dropped down a fraction of a millimeter, and another layer of powder is spread on top of the first." The process is repeated until the component is built.
And the best of all, they sound great. Check it out for yourself:
103D Printed Skateboard
In 2013, CGTrader and 3DPRINTUK hosted a 3D printing design competition. Sam Abbott won the competition with a portfolio of 3D printed designs, and in turn won an Ultimaker 3D printer. Soon after, Sam took on a more ambitious project, designing and producing the world's first 3D printed twin tip skateboard.
From afar, the 3D-printed, twin-lipped skateboard printed by 3D Print UK may appear to sport an unusual texture, but it's actually a crazy collage of wacky creatures adorning the backside. The impressive deck measures 30.5 inches wide, 6.8 inches deep, and about 2 inches high.
3D Print UK founder Nick Allen mentions that the board is more an art piece than an actual method of transportation, but it does ride.