Gizmodo Highlights Things That Couldn’t Exist without 3D Printing

Gizmodo Highlights Things That Couldn’t Exist without 3D Printing

Recently, Gizmodo put out a great article highlighting things that couldn’t exist without 3D printing. While you should definitely check out the full article for yourself, here are some of the highlights: When Airbus announced that it was getting in on the 3D printing game last year, they explained that 3D printed parts could reduce the weight of their planes by as much as 55%. If you have ever had braces or a retainer, you know that one of the most unpleasant parts of the experience is suffering through the impressions of your teeth. Today, dentists can use CAD files to create detailed 3D prints of your teeth and gums. Doctors have been using 3D printing to assist with the placement of stents in two ways. In some cases, they have used a 3D printed model of the patient’s organs to properly place the device. In other cases, the doctors have 3D printed the stents themselves so that they perfectly fit the patient’s individual anatomy. Speaking of cool medical advancements. Doctors have rigged a printer to print living cells that form collagen and cartilage. With this printer, doctors were able to create a living trachea replacement. In fact, the potential for more advanced medical applications is so exciting that they may someday even be able to weld together organic molecules to print organic compounds, which, among other things, could make it much easier to quickly test drugs. 3D printing is truly revolutionizing the way that things are made. Learn more about the amazing advancements in 3D technology by signing up for our newsletter.  ...
Animals Saved by 3D Printing

Animals Saved by 3D Printing

With robotic hands, custom-printed splints, and medicine that can be printed to specific doses, the news is full of ways that 3D printing can help humans live healthier, more productive lives. But, if you look close enough, there are also some really amazing examples of how 3D printing has also been helping some adorable members of the animal kingdom.  Here are a few of our favorite stories about animals saved by 3D printing. 1. A pelican’s new beak. When a pelican began acting strangely at the Dalian Forest Zoo, staff members soon realized that the bird’s beak was damaged. Because a beak is vital to both food gathering and determining a pelican’s social status, a beak is crucial to a pelican’s survival. After two attempts at repairing the beak through other methods, zoo workers decided that they would try to use a 3D printer to make the necessary repairs. Because it appeared that there was already some new growth, doctors determined that it wasn’t necessary to print the entire beak. The final product is a 3D printed extension that screws into the pelican’s original beak, allowing the pelican to feed normally once more. 2. A turtle’s new home. A turtle’s shell protects them in a number of ways, including from bacteria and infection. In some cases, poor nutrition can lead to a bone disease which can cause the shell to wear away. When that happens, a turtle can be left painfully exposed. This is the fate that turtle Cleopatra was facing. Luckily, however, Cleopatra was taken in by Canyon Critters Rescue. Here, founder Nicola “Nico” Novelli determined that he...
Benefit from a 3D Printer at Home, no Experience Required

Benefit from a 3D Printer at Home, no Experience Required

When we bring our 3D printers to an event, we always have a great time meeting new people and talking about the potential of 3D printing. While most people are really excited to see the printers in action, one of the observations we hear most often is, “it’s neat, but I don’t think that I have any use for it,” or “it doesn’t seem very practical.” While I can certainly understand why this is often a first reaction, here is why I truly believe that everybody can benefit from having a 3D printer at home For beginners When you skim through the hundreds of thousands of downloadable files available online, you will definitely see a bunch of knick-knacks and things that most homes just don’t need. But you will also find a whole lot of items that are extremely practical. Do you need new organizers for your drawers? How about a wrench for a project? Just download the files and hit print. Not only are these items fully customizable to your own unique space or project, but you also get to avoid a trip to the store. Some of those knick-knacks are actually really cool. There are some true artists at work on these sites who create beautiful vases that make fantastic centerpieces, one-of-a-kind pencil holders, Thor statues that your little ones are sure to love, and much more. When your kids are bored, you can print out a brand new board game, or open up one of the customizable files and let them have a great time tweaking their own ornament or action figure. If you are in...
Print Yourself in a 3D Portrait

Print Yourself in a 3D Portrait

Have you ever envisioned yourself as a real-life action figure? With the new 3D portrait booths, possibly coming to a store near you, you can create your exact replica in amazing detail. Step into the Booth Designed by the Artec Group, a manufacturer of 3D scanners, the Shapify Booth is a high tech scanner that maps your entire body in just 12 seconds. If you’re not sure exactly what pose you want to be printed in, don’t worry, the booth provides you with as many free test scans as you would like. Once you choose the perfect scan, the results are sent off to the company and turned into a printable file within 15 minutes. Then, all you need to do is either print the file with your own printers, or use a print service, such as the official Artec print service. See the booth in action: What moment would you immortalize? So far, the majority of the booths are placed in grocery stores, which means that most customers will be capturing their miniature 3D self in their everyday attire. Artec does, however, point out that the prints are a fantastic way to capture life’s special moments, such as weddings, birthdays, and pregnancies. One of Artec’s advertisements focuses on this idea as it tells a couple’s love story through their shapies. With a suggested starting retail price of $99 and going up to $199 depending on the size, the shapie isn’t necessarily a trinket that everyone can bring home from the grocery store on a whim, which brings the whole business model into question. What do you think? Would...
A 3D Printed Pill at a Pharmacy Near You

A 3D Printed Pill at a Pharmacy Near You

This week, the FDA approved the first 3D printed pill. While the medical community has long dreamed of the potential of 3D printed pharmaceuticals, and there have been multiple 3D printed medical devices already approved, this decision marks the first time that a pill will be officially manufactured on a printer. Developed by Ohio-based pharmaceutical company Aprecia, the drug in question, Spirtam Levetiracetam, is designed to control seizures. Although there are already similar drugs on the market, the unique design of the 3D pill provides for a more effective delivery system. Why 3D Printing? The primary benefit of a 3D printed pill is simply that the nature of the print causes the medicine to dissolve quickly. Aprecia’s trademarked technology, which is known as ZipDose, creates a more porous pill. Once liquid enters the equation, the pill quickly dissolves away. This makes the pill much easier to swallow, especially in high doses. Another reason that the potential for 3D printed medicine is so exciting is the ability to have minute control over the dosage. This allows pharmacists to customize the doses for each individual based upon their unique needs. While Spirtam Levetiracetam is only available in one shape, another potential benefit of printing 3D pills is that the medication could be produced in a wide array of shapes that aren’t possible with traditional medical manufacturing methods. As research has shown that the shape of a pill can determine how the medication is released, having greater control over the shape of the pill itself gives doctors greater control over how the patient receives his or her medication. The FDA’s decision to...