It’s been a while since we’ve done an update on what’s actually current in 3D printing, although currency seems to shift with every passing day. In this update, for example, 3D printed fruit, makeup, and houses were all fairly new developments (and that was just last May!)
Every day brings new advancements and creations from these printers that allow humans to test the capabilities of their mind, creativity, and inventions.
Here are a few of the most recent and interesting happenings in the 3D printing world. Keep in mind that these could change tomorrow, or the next day, or a week from now, thanks to the rapid nature of the technology that allows inventors to almost immediately see and touch their creations.
- 3D-Printed Cities: This is more of an idea in theory than an actuality (as of now), but it speaks volumes that we’re going from the idea of 3D printing houses to creating actual cities. In the rapidly urbanizing city of Suzhou in eastern China, Chinese company Winsun announced that it had 3D printed 10 concrete houses in a day, and in January, unveiled a 3D printed 1,1000 square meter villa. It took eight people one month to finish the villa, and if traditional construction methods were used, it would have taken 30 people three months. In other words, costs are halved, efficiency is high, and some are beginning to see this as a viable option, especially in parts of the world where slums are predominant. Theoretically, this could encourage governments to board affordable homes because of savings in time and cost. Developers with 3D printers could deliver a printer to the site along with the construction material and architectural design on a flash drive. It seems as if this is too massive of a project to be real, but it isn’t, and it’s happening.
- 3D Printed Jet Engines: Recently, researchers in Australia unveiled the world’s first 3D printed jet engine! In a similar way to the housing market, 3D printing can cut production times for components of jets from three months to just six days– a massive savings in time and money. “This will allow aerospace companies to compress their development cycles because we are making these prototype engines three or four times faster than normal,” said Simon Marriott, chief executive of Amaero Engineering, the private company set up by Monash to commercialize the engines.
- 3D Printed Cars: Meet the Strati, the first-ever 3D printed car developed by US startup Local Motors. In late 2015, the first legal street versions of the car will be delivered to customers, so you just may see one of these interesting looking structures. While parts like the battery and motor can’t be printed yet, the structure and wiring is entirely printed from plastic components. It will be interesting to test and see the functionality of these new designs.
It seems as if the options are endless with these types of projects, and we look forward to seeing how manufacturing continues to grow and explore with the help of 3D printers! Questions? Comments? Want to learn more? Leave a question in the comments section below anytime!
photo credit: Local Motors’ 3D printed car via 3Dprintingprogress.com