10 Of The Most Amazing Things That Have Been 3D Printed


When 3D printers first appeared on the scene, it truly felt like science fiction had become reality. Now, people like you and me can buy 3D printers for home use, and amazing items are being produced. 3D printing has impacted the medical field, culinary, textiles, construction and more and there is no stopping in sight. Here are some of the most amazing things that have been 3D printed, and also a brief introduction of what exactly 3D printing is. 

3D Printing Explained

man working with 3D printer.
Photo credit: stokkete via DepositPhotos.

3D (three-dimensional) printing is a method of additive manufacturing, which involves producing a tangible item based on a digital blueprint. This technique operates by depositing successive layers of materials, such as liquid or powdered plastic, metal, or cement, and subsequently bonding these layers together.

To really drill it down, it kind of looks like a nozzle that squirts out a material in a controlled way, creating multiple layers, by layering the substance back and forth upon itself, generating a finished shape which is dictated by the blueprint.

3D Printing Present & Future

3D print graphic.3D print graphic.
Photo credit: masha_tace via DepositPhotos.

Since its introduction, the advent of 3D printing technology has brought about significant enhancements in manufacturing productivity. In the long run, it has the potential to profoundly disrupt various industries, including manufacturing, logistics, and inventory management, particularly if successfully integrated into mass production workflows.

Presently, the speed of 3D printing is not yet suitable for most mass production purposes. Nevertheless, this technology has proven valuable in reducing lead times for prototyping parts and devices, as well as the production of required tooling. This is particularly advantageous for small-scale manufacturers as it decreases costs and accelerates time to market—the duration from product conception to availability for sale. And, it has proven to be fun and interesting for the layperson, as well.

One of the notable strengths of 3D printing lies in its ability to fabricate intricate and complex shapes using less material compared to traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques like drilling, welding, and injection molding. By enabling faster, easier, and more cost-effective prototyping, this technology promotes increased innovation, facilitates experimentation, and supports the emergence of product-focused startups.

How Much Do 3D Printers Cost?

pile of US bills.pile of US bills.
Photo credit: bensccripps via Canva.

There are 3D printers available for about $100, but of course they will be less sophisticated than more expensive options, and also have more limitations.

For an avid home hobbyist, you can find 3D printers for less than $1000. All of these lower cost printers might come as a kit.

More professional printers will start at about $5,000 and go up to tens of thousands of dollars.

But let’s get to the fun part. Here are some incredibly cool things that 3D printers have produced.

3D Printers at Home

people in home with 3D printing equipment.people in home with 3D printing equipment.
Photo credit: corepics via DepositPhotos.

Recent statistics say that 2 million consumer 3D printers have been sold around the world.

Here are some things that have been printed with home-based machines:

  • Earbud case
  • Orthotics & Prosthetics – for humans and pets!
  • Bottle opener
  • Coffee Maker
  • Popsicle Mold
  • Musical instruments
  • Survival whistle
  • Handles
  • Hinges
  • Wallet
  • Makeup
  • Toys
  • Cable catchers
  • Bowls & Cutlery
  • Pen holders
  • Phone docks
  • Tablet stands
  • SD card holders
  • Planters & Garden decor
  • Recycling/sustainability equipment

3D Homes

3D printed house.3D printed house.
Photo credit: Paul Vu and MightyBuildings.

There are large scale printers that are being used to work with a type of concrete to build walls and houses, that people are already living within.

Dwell magazine did a story about what it was like to live in one of these structures, and the comments were overwhelmingly positive.

There have been high-end structures built, such as those created by EYRC Architects, who have formed a partnership with Mighty Buildings, a construction company based in Oakland, CA. They collaborated on a groundbreaking 3D-printed community project in Desert Hot Springs, California. The construction employed a strategy that involved 3D printing wall panels and assembling the structure on-site.

Unlike conventional 3D printing companies, Mighty Buildings utilizes a specialized resonated stone composite known as Light Stone Material in their printers. This composite solidifies under UV light exposure, ensuring exceptional durability and thermal stability.

More modest housing has already been built as well. Compact dwellings, measuring 400 square feet, were originally designed by Logan Architecture for the Community First! Village, a 51-acre development aimed at providing housing for individuals experiencing homelessness in Austin. Icon, utilizing its Vulcan II printers, successfully carried out on-site 3D printing to construct the houses.

Skin, Bones & Organs

woman looking at computer screens.woman looking at computer screens.
Photo credit: imagepointfr via DepositPhotos.

A team of researchers from the University of Toronto has developed a portable 3D printer capable of applying skin cells onto a pig’s body. Initially, the pig’s own cells were collected and cultured to obtain a sufficient quantity, which were then utilized as the printing material.

Operating similarly to a tape dispenser, the handheld 3D printer was carefully maneuvered over the pig’s wound, resulting in the successful attachment of the skin cells to the chosen area. This breakthrough has led scientists to envision a future where this technology could potentially replace the need for skin grafts in humans, simplifying the treatment of individuals with open wounds, particularly burn victims.

The field responsible for printing living tissues is referred to as bioprinting, and researchers have already achieved significant milestones in this area. Artificial bone, blood vessels, and bladders have been successfully printed, fostering hope among scientists that this technology could ultimately alleviate the prolonged and sometimes life-threatening wait for organ transplants.

Chocolate

Hershey kisses.Hershey kisses.
Photo credit: Susannah Townsend via Canva.

We love chocolate, but 3D printed chocolate? Why not? In this case the 3D printer is simply used as a way to create chocolate forms, such as bunnies, or geometric shapes. Chocolate itself, being capable of being liquid in form when melted, makes a great 3D printing material. The printer makes layers of melted chocolate, which then firm up upon cooling. Even Hershey, one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world, has entered the game with 3D printed chocolates.

At Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction, visitors have the opportunity to personalize their chocolate bars with custom messages, utilizing either a CAD file or even a scanned image of their faces through scanning technology. One of the current limitations faced by the additive manufacturing industry is time. It takes approximately one hour and twenty-six minutes to print a full-size Hershey Chocolate Kiss. As a result, Hershey currently offers two-dimensional design customization, which can be completed in just a few minutes. The intention is to provide customers with an interactive and efficient experience.

The printers are equipped with interactive touchscreens, enabling the company to gather customer feedback regarding their customization preferences. This valuable input from customers aids Hershey in shaping the future of their technology as they continue to innovate.

Other Food

3D printer making meat.3D printer making meat.
Photo credit: Dmyrto_Z via DepositPhotos.

Many other foods have been 3D printed, such as quiches, croutons, candies, cereal, spaghetti, even sugar sculptures. Even more elaborate creations such as spoon-shaped breadsticks, crackers made from roasted red peppers that look like lace, dumplings in ginger broth, pizza, pumpkin gnocchi, and even mini burgers. 

Check out our article Sustainable Seafood or Sci-Fi Fare? Would You Eat 3D Printed Fish?

One article stated that the “hope” was that in the future, people who didn’t like to cook, could just produce food at home with a printer. We aren’t sure we are hoping for that. We did find it amusing that one journalist referenced Jean-Luc Picard aboard the USS Enterprise. As Captain Picard was fond of saying, “Computer: Tea. Ear Grey. Hot.” The time is near.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better: How About A Microscopic Race Car?

3D printed race car.3D printed race car.
This is a 285 micrometer racecar, printed at the Vienna University of Technology. Photo credit: Vienna University of Technology.

This one got our attention. Vienna University of Technology researchers created a 3D printer that excel at small objects. To highlights its abilities, they made a teeny, tiny Formula One-style race car about four times the width of a human hair.

Robots

cbot2.cbot2.
Photo credit: yankodesign.com.

Yanko Design has created the C-Bot, a wall-climbing robot based on the biometrics of a gecko’s foot design. The robot can “stick” enough to walls to climb them without artificial adhesion.

At the University of California, San Diego a robot with 3 legs was 3D printed with the aim of creating a very facile robot that can move over rough terrain. Its structure was a combination of soft and hard materials 3D printed together.

Electric Violin

3Dvarius 1 - Copyright Thomas Tetu.10 Of The Most Amazing Things That Have Been 3D Printed
Photo credit: Thomas Tetu.

For about $7,000 you can have a custom electric violin made by French company 3Dvarius. All of the body parts are created with a 3D printer.

A Tortoise Shell for a Tortoise!

3D printed tortoise shell.3D printed tortoise shell.
Photo credit: 3DPrint.com.

Freddy, a female tortoise, experienced a life-altering event when she suffered severe burns during a forest fire in Brazil, resulting in the loss of 85% of her shell. However, thanks to the collaborative efforts of veterinarians, 3D printers, and local artists, Freddy was granted a new lease on life through the creation of a 3D printed shell. 

The dedicated team embarked on a unique process, capturing 49 photographs of Freddy from various angles, which served as the foundation for designing a customized prosthetic shell. This shell was meticulously printed layer by layer, comprising four interlocking pieces resembling jigsaw puzzles. The shell was crafted using corn-based plastic material.

Kayak

3D printed kayak.3D printed kayak.
Photo credit: Paperprovince.com.

A Swedish based manufacturer made a kayak using recycled material, making it more sustainable and environmentally friendly than the average kayak.

3D Printers Making…3D Printers

surprised man in white sweater.surprised man in white sweater.
Photo credit: Jermaine Young via Canva.

Yup, it had to happen. It is possible to 3D print all the parts needed to make a 3D printer.

19 Of The World’s Most Overrated Foods

flamin' hot Cheetos.flamin' hot Cheetos.
Photo credit: PBT via DepositPhotos.

We have foods we love, and those we won’t touch. We all have our own likes and dislikes, but what are the most overrated foods? That was the question posed on this Reddit thread by Even_Cause_3478. There were a lot of opinions. Some made sense to us, and some were things we had never thought of before!

What is the most overrated food in your opinion?

Click for 19 Of The World’s Most Overrated Foods

18 of the World’s Deadliest Foods: How Many Are You Eating?

mushroom.mushroom.
Photo credit: Totajla via Canva.

Whether you eat to live, or live to eat, let’s make sure you live to see another day! These are some of the world’s deadliest foods. They can bring on extreme symptoms, ranging from paralysis to seizures, choking and even death, so don’t go tucking these into your lunchbox. Click for 18 of the World’s Deadliest Foods: How Many Are You Eating?

10 Of The Worst Tasting Drinks People Pretend To Like

tops of soda cans.tops of soda cans.
Breakingpic via Canva.

Hold onto your taste buds, because we’re about to embark on a flavor-filled adventure through the realm of beverages! Sure, we all need water to survive, but let’s be real – drinks are so much more than just basic hydration. Recently, the question of which beverages people secretly think taste awful sparked a fiery debate. Boozy elixirs, non-alcoholic refreshments, and everything in between were thrown into the mix. Brace yourself as we unveil the truth behind the drinks we pretend to love. Get ready for a wild ride of taste revelations! Read 10 Of The Worst Tasting Drinks People Pretend To Like

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