3D printing is still creating quite a buzz around the globe. Everyone is waiting with baited breath to see just how big an impact the new technology is going to have on our everyday lives. Whilst we wait, here are some pretty cool stuff that has recently been produced by the wonders of 3D printing.
This little beauty has been created as part of Formnation’s quest for the perfect chair. The chair has been ‘bred’ to be perfect, just like you might do with a prize animal. Through a complicated computer program the genetic make-up of chairs was established based on parameters including durability, construction, ergonomics, cost and aesthetics. In a process that I don’t completely understand, a simulation of evolution was then run to create a chair with the best parts of all existing chairs, before being 3D printed.
So, I bet that you are all thinking “We’ve been able to print paintings for years.” And yes, you may have been able to recreate the Mona Lisa on your own little laserjet at home, but the print will have lacked real charm: the lumps and bumps of the painted originals. You do not have to miss out on these delights for much longer however, with Tim Zaman’s photographic scanning system. Two cameras and fringe projection are used to capture the microscopic topography of the painting. Globs, bobs and brushstrokes are all easily discernible and can then be recreated with a specially adapted 3D printer. Watch out Van Gogh!
Is brushing your teeth one task too many in the morning? Find the hassle of moving a toothbrush in and out and around your mouth just too much effort? Well, this new product is tailored exactly to your mouth and promises to cut the laborious task of tooth brushing down to six seconds of “biting and grinding”. The slightly painful looking machine is created from a 3D scan of your mouth and teeth that is then 3D printed into a mould with 100s of bristles placed at the crucial 45 degree angle to your teeth and gums. Only snag? It costs a little more than your regular toothbrush to replace.
Although most of us probably have at least 5 or 6 pairs of shoes knocking about at home, these natty printed pair still seem pretty appealing right? Well Unifold shoes were actually designed not with us shoe loving cosmopolitans in mind but for the 300 million people world wide who wander around daily with nothing on their feet. The shoes will not only offer comfort (and style) but will also save millions of lives from preventable parasitic diseases caught through unprotected feet. The shoes are printed on foam rubber and are then folded to each individuals exact foot shape. They require no gluing, sewing or even lacing and can be shipped flat-pack or could of course be printed locally.
Here’s a little lesson about horseshoes. You want them to be strong. That’s why steel or iron is traditionally used. But, for racehorses, you also want them to be light. That’s why horseshoes for racehorses are sometimes crafted out of copper or rubber or aluminum – which compromises on strength. Titanium would be an ideal material but is very difficult and expensive to work with. Hello 3D Printing! Some clever guys down at the CSIRO have been taking 3D scans of horses hooves before building the titanium hooves by building up layer upon layer of titanium powder, hardened by lasers.