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You’ve probably heard about the 3D printed gun, which is dangerous and doesn’t work very well. You also...
You’ve probably heard about the 3D printed gun, which is dangerous and doesn’t work very well. You also may have heard about getting a 3D printed replica of your unborn baby, or chocolates printed in whatever shapes you’d like. But what can 3D printers make that is actually useful? We found a few things.
Custom fit insoles: Sick of wearing shoes that hurt your feet? The SOLS project can create the perfect fit. First an app scans your foot, and then the printer creates your very own perfectly- shaped orthotics. They’re a bit pricey at the moment, but as the tech develops, costs should drop.
Plastic clasps: You know those buckle-like clasps that snap together on backpacks or fanny packs and always seem to break, making you want to print a plastic gun and end it all? They’re easily replaced with a 3D printer.
Houses: A team of architects in Amsterdam is actually making an entire full-sized house using a 3D printer. It’s even made of eco-friendly plant-based plastic!
Cars: Automakers like Ford and GM already manufacture small prototypes of car designs and car parts using 3D printers. GM also produces consoles with the technology. In two years the Ubee 2 hybrid car, made mostly from 3D printing, is slated to be driven across the entire USA.
Portable wheelchair ramps: A great solution for visiting those non-wheelchair accessible places in the world. A small curb is no longer an obstacle with these convenient 3D printed plastic wedges.
Bottle with screw cap: Basic and boring, but eminently useful. If you should find yourself without a bottle and desperately in need of one, a 3D printer can make it for you right in your home.
Table lamps: They might not be the epitome of industrial design or shabby chic, but they can certainly light up your desk, and they cost only $10 to make.
Replacement limbs: A company called Not Impossible Labs makes $100 prosthetic arms for children in Sudan who are injured in conflict zones. An arm only takes six hours to print.
Replacement organs: No, not musical instruments, actual human organs like lungs, kidneys, and hearts. Doctors have already printed 3D scaffolding the size and shape of real organs and coated them with living cells. At the Department of Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest Medical Center in North Carolina, scientists are working on 3D printers that will print both the scaffolding and cells at once.
Less waste: Increased use of 3D printers will cut down drastically on shipping costs, fuel consumption, vehicle emissions, and manufacturing waste. Why ship thousands of examples of the same item when you can ship just one and have it copied locally?
If you could make anything from a 3D printer, what would it be? Let us know in the comments section below!