What Can 3D Printing Do For Us Today?

In recent years, 3D printing has made tremendous strides and can now be used in a variety of applications, from manufacturing and medicine to architecture and custom art. The British company SYS Systems has been providing its 3D printing solutions in the aerospace industry, using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) to create strong and durable thermoplastic 3D models with flame retardant properties. German industrial manufacturing company Siemens has also invested £27 million to open the UK's largest 3D printing factory in Worcester, which will explore 3D printing in aviation and generate more than 50 jobs. In the automotive industry, Divergent has developed a new approach to vehicle creation called 'Node', which involves 3D printed aluminum nodes combined with 3D printed carbon fibers.

In engineering and design, students can use 3D printing to print prototypes, and some institutions have already implemented this. In healthcare and medicine, 3D printing is being used to create bone structures that can be implanted in the human body, as well as organs and heart and liver tissue. Northwestern University medical school even 3D printed ovaries for mice and allowed infertile mice to produce healthy offspring. For industries such as aerospace and defense, where very complex parts are produced at low volumes, 3D printing is ideal as it allows for complex geometries without having to invest in expensive tooling equipment.

Automotive manufacturers are also using 3D printers for accessories, bases and prototypes that must be rigid and resistant. 3D printing is also being used in the design process to create prototypes since the late 1970s. One of the most striking examples of this is the Hero Arm from Open Bionics, which is the world's first medically certified 3D printed bionic arm with multi-grip functionality and powerful aesthetics. The company now offers a selection of themed covers for the Hero Arm, including Star Wars, BB-vel, Iron Man, Disney Frozen and Deus Ex.

They are “tailor-made” using innovative 3D printing and 3D scanning techniques. This 3D skin printer helps heal wounds and burns explained how 3D printing can be used to bioprint replacement skin for wound and burn victims. 3D printing is also being used to reduce the cost of housing construction enough to make new homes accessible to those whose income puts adequate housing out of reach. ICON has partnered with a charity called New Story that has provided funding for households in Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador and Bolivia and for households in need.

NASA has also launched the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge to establish a shelter for people who will live on Mars. Finally, companies have been using 3D printers to create vegan alternatives to meat. Giuseppe Scionti, the Italian founder and CEO of Nova Meat, based in Barcelona, has developed a technique for 3D printing meat that can duplicate the texture of beef or poultry using vegetable proteins. Dinara Kasko is another example of someone who has combined her experience as an architect with her passion for cakes to create special-shaped cakes made with her specially designed molds.