5 Shocking Things People Are 3D Printing

The most innovative inventions to come out of the craze

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Body Parts

These scarily realistic prostheses are made by design firm Fripp Design & Research, in order to find a way around the conventional production of prosthetics, which is expensive and time-consuming. Usually costing around $4,000 each due to the complex and timely process which involves taking impressions of wounded areas, sculpting an improved version of it out of wax and moulding it into silicone. 3D printers on the other hand, use digital cameras to capture damaged areas and skin tone, and then create a new and improved digital version of their facial feature before sending it off to a Z Corp Z510 colour 3D printer. The same process can be used for other areas of the body too. For example to replace arms, skulls and even eyeballs, at a much more reasonable cost.

Pizza

… and most other food. We’ve already discussed the heroic achievement that is 3D ice-cream, but there are several other cuisine choices also available if you’re in the mood for something more savoury. Pizza maybe? NASA (yes, the space people) unveiled a special pizza printer last September, although it probably doesn’t taste quite as good as your usual takeaway of choice. Made from just dough topped with ketchup and cream cheese and cooked by a heated plate as it comes out, its still got a bit of a way to go before astronauts will agree to eat it in space. But why is NASA researching how to make a pizza? Just think about how much food you bring with you for a long car journey, and then multiply it by what you’d need for a few months. Storage on space travel is very limited, and the dehydrated ingredients used in 3D printing would also last up to 30 years (the current requirements expect a 15 years or more shelf life).

Clothes

It seems like everyone who’s anyone in the fashion industry has experimented with 3D printing. The personalisation and customisation it grants fits well into the image-conscious sector. While footwear brand New Balance use technology to scan their customers feet and then print out a unique set of nylon polymer shoes, Victoria’s Secret models each received a custom-fitting pair of angel wings. In fact, there’s even a downloadable wedge heel designed by Janne Kyttanen that you can print off, too.

Cars

3D printed cars are becoming bigger and bigger as the cost of non-printed cars also increases. Being able to print new parts could be especially useful for remote or less affluent areas or warzones, as well as opening up the industry to lots more people. While Local Motors are opening up opportunities to clever, young car-fanatics, while 20-something US brothers Cody and Tyler Kor plan on tracing the path driven by the first two men to journey round the US by motor vehicle but this time.. in a 3D printed car.

Custom Busts

Now no longer restricted to just historical genius’ and legends, now anybody can have a custom bust of themselves, or their significant other, or their mum. Bringing a whole new meaning to selfie, technology builds your eerie unreal twin by using the information from a 2D passport-style picture of you. Although not particularly expensive, selling at $308 for the nearly nine-inch tall version, what would you actually do with it? Apart from hiding it under your bed so it couldn’t creep you out anymore, of course.