Michelangelo’s David started as a large block of marble. The artist chiseled away at the block until all that was left was David with his sling, ready to battle Goliath. The method Michelangelo used of taking away the marble to finish his work of art is called the subtractive process.
3D printing does the opposite. Rather than taking away, 3D printing uses the additive process. Starting from nothing, the 3D printer reproduces a digital model by adding materials in layers until the final product is achieved. Use of the technology started out small scale, assisting with creation of jewelry, footwear, and engineering products. Now, however, the technology is taking a science fiction type turn with 3D printing taking on possibilities that would have seemed unfeasible only a few years ago.
Here are five amazing, weird, and fun creations from 3D printing — followed by four that could be coming soon:
While it doesn't look exactly like a regular bike, the slick design would work to get you from point A to B. Durability may seem like an issue, but the bike is made from a nylon powder and claims to have the strength of a steel or aluminum bike while weighing 65% less.
2. A New Jaw Bone
The medical possibilities with the use of a 3D printer are very exciting. This new jaw was given to an 83-year-old woman. Hip replacements and even stem cells could be developed using the technology.
3. Kid's Drawings Turned to Toys
A child's imagination can't be contained, but now it can be replicated. No longer does a parent have to hang a picture on the fridge, instead they can add another toy for their child to play with.
While Slash hasn't made the move to a printable guitar, he can any time he wants. The claims are that the sound is great, even if they look is different.
3D printed clothing was on display at Paris Fashion Week. Forgot your bathing suit? Just bust out your 3D printer and you'll be good to go soon enough.
6. FUTURE POSSIBILITY — Meat?
In the hopes of helping the environment by not killing off cattle, a start-up aspires to use 3D printing technology to create meat. If cartilage and hip replacements can be made, meat seems like a logical step, although an odd tasting one.
7. FUTURE POSSIBILITY — Guns
Scary? Yes. A real possibility? Definitely. While the legislation is going to be interesting on this, it's feasible that a person could print a gun out on their home 3D printer.
8. FUTURE POSSIBILITY — Buildings
This one is supposedly coming in 2014. A building that is printed out, the design is intriguing and exciting. The future is coming.
9. FUTURE POSSIBILITY - Moon Base
This is where science fiction meets reality. Possibility of reality is being investigated, but the plan would be to use lunar materials instead of transporting materials from earth.
3D printing may not only change the world, it could change the universe as well.