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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

8 Innovative Uses for 3D Printing

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What do vegan meat, prostheses, and a tortoise’s shell have in common?

The answer? These are just a few of the many things that can now be made by a 3D printer.

3D printing is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. It is a cost-effective, flexible, and fast way to create unique products and solutions to everyday problems.

From the food industry to housing construction, 3D printing is everywhere. It allows designers to create almost anything. The usual limitations of complexity, size, and timing restraints do not apply.

Read on to learn about some of the most innovative 3D printing projects. 

Accessible Prostheses

Traditional prostheses are an expensive and often insufficient substitute for lost limbs. Simple prostheses are typically only available in limited sizes. This means that many can only afford something which doesn’t fit them well.

3D printing offers a radical solution to both of these problems. 3D-printed prostheses are both much more affordable and are custom-made. This means patients can get a prosthesis designed to work for them. 

This is an incredible development, especially for children who need prostheses. This is because a child will need several prostheses across their lifetime as they grow bigger or damage them. Replacement 3D-printed prostheses are a far cheaper solution than traditional models.

Vegan Meat

Whether because of environmental, health, or animal welfare concerns, an increasing number of people are turning to a vegan diet. 

In fact, more than 6.5 million Americans claim to be vegan, meaning they don’t eat any type of animal-based food. There are lots of meat-free alternatives available, but one you might not have heard of is 3D-printed vegan meat.

Companies can now print meat substitutes using vegetable proteins. The resulting product replicates the texture, colour, and flavour of the real thing with the added bonus of being sustainable. 

Affordable Housing

Lots of the most innovative uses for 3D printers involve improving the quality of life for the people who really need it. Affordable 3D printed housing is one such example.

The first-ever 3D-printed house was constructed in 2014 and since then developments in the field have been rapid.

The 3D printing method is often cheaper due to low-cost materials and less manpower. Houses built in this way can also be constructed much faster. This means there is the potential for them to be used as emergency shelters or low-income housing.

Bioprinting

Bioprinting sees biomaterials like cells are combined using the layer-by-layer process to create artificial tissue-like structures. Though the technology has not been fully developed yet, the developments so far are already making a big impact in medicine.  

Bioprinting provides an ethical way of carrying out pharmaceutical testing. Bone tissue regeneration, cosmetic surgery, and skin grafts are other areas being developed.

3D-printed artificial organs are also playing a crucial role in dealing with cases of vital organ failure. They can be produced quickly and are proving to be effective in solving organ-related problems.

Glasses Frames

By using 3D printing to elevate your 3D CAD designs, you can work on some truly amazing and unusual projects. Here is one you could try yourself at home. 

The layer-by-layer technique is helping eyewear manufacturers produce more flexible and innovative designs.

You don’t have to choose between style and comfort with 3D-printed glasses frames. The individual nature of the designs means that people who need glasses are able to get pairs that are comfortable. 

You can create a frame that is exactly right for you. As well as being much lighter, 3D-printed frames are resistant and durable. This also makes this a great option for growing children, whose glasses often get into accidents! 

Plane Parts

The aviation and aerospace industry is yet another example of how 3D-printed designs can revolutionize the everyday. 

Metal parts are traditionally made using materials like aluminum. This makes for an expensive and time-consuming process. 3D-printed parts are considerably lighter and can be produced much quicker.

Weight is an important factor in determining fuel consumption, speed, and emissions of a plane. 3D-printed components including air ducts, panels, and some engine components can greatly reduce the weight of a plane.

This can make planes more environmentally efficient and can speed up the repair process if something goes wrong.

Pet Recovery Aids

Humans aren’t the only species that can benefit from the 3D printing revolution. Printed prostheses are helping more and more pets recover from injuries. They can also improve the quality of life for disabled animals.

Every year thousands of pets are euthanized because of injuries or defects that could be helped by 3D-printed prostheses. 

There are so many examples of this technology helping pets. From mobility carts for dogs without front legs to a tortoise with a 3D-printed shell to cover an infection, this is a great use of 3D printing.

Musical Instruments

3D printing is opening up so many new and innovative possibilities in the manufacturing of musical instruments.

3D-printed musical instruments aren’t just for display. They are fully-functioning, with the same quality of sound as their traditional counterparts. It is also possible to produce both replacement instrument parts or duplicate instruments at a cheaper cost. 

Excitingly, 3D printing also provides the opportunity to create more accessible, modified instruments. By creating instruments adapted to each musician’s individual needs, more people are able to try out playing an instrument.

3D Printing Solutions Are Everywhere

3D printing is already a multibillion-dollar market and is only set to get bigger over the coming years.

It offers an entirely efficient, customizable, and affordable way of manufacturing an increasing number of everyday products and objects.

Innovative projects like these are changing the way we do things and improving our quality of life. The only question is what will you make first?

If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love our other articles about technology trends and developments. Check them out today!

Thanks For Reading
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