Say you see a bracelet on a model you really want, but have no way of figuring out where to get it (or that it is $400!). Normally, you would sigh and curse the magazine you saw it in. But what if you had a 3D printer? You could find an open source file for a similar bracelet and have it printed in mere hours! Consumer 3D printers have come a long way in 2011, giving us new options in manufacturing and product consumption. Here are a few crazy things 3D printers can do.
Siri iPhone Case
There were few things last year that creeped me out more than this. With the introduction of Siri, iPhones were taken to a new level with voice commands. This reverse iPhone case covers the screen, revealing only the home bottom. This forces you to interact with Siri anytime you need something.
Clothes, Jewelry and Accessories
Manufactured by Continuum Fashion, the N12 Bikini is “the world’s first ready-to-wear, completely 3D-printed article of clothing.” It is made of strong and flexible Nylon 12, which is apparently comfortable even when wet. The whole bikini, including the closures, was made from 3D printing and snaps together.
High fashion also got a dose of 3D printing when completely printed, wearable dresses hit the runway this year. Iris Van Herpen debuted at Paris Fashion Week with her dress line ‘Escapism’ that featured 3D printed dresses.
3D printing with chocolate
Who wouldn’t want to shape chocolate into fantastic shapes and intricate designs? I love brilliantly decorated cakes, cookies and pastries. Choc Edge has launched the first commercial 3D chocolate printer called the Choc Creator. Mm, delicious.
This completely blew my mind when I find out about it. Researchers and doctors are printing organs?? Sounds like something out of Repo: A Genetic Opera. However, there are more applications in the medical field for 3D printing – like individualized facial reconstructive surgery, modeling tricky areas before invasive surgery and personalized medical accessories.
Urbee Hybrid Car
How cool would it be to print your own functional car? The Urbee is at the frontier of large-scale, consumer product sales using 3D printing technology. As the world’s first “printed car,” using ultra-thin composite materials that are fused together into a solid body. From the videos, it seems like a perfectly plausible and safe car…but would you drive it?
The Smithsonian Institute has adopted 3D printing to not only create a digitally scanned 3D archive of the art pieces, but also to make it available to the public. This would mean that field trip to the museum could be reproduced in the classroom.
Of the 137 million pieces in its collection, the Smithsonian can only display about 2 percent of them. With this, they hope to scan and clone many of their pieces to be lent to other museums.
Who doesn’t want to be Iron Man? The filmmakers of Iron Man 2 turned to 3D printing to create a physical Iron Man suit for scenes when CGI wasn’t enough. More and more Hollywood studios are using 3D printers to create loads of props, scenes and costumes.
Author bio: Sabina Cao has a B.A. in Journalism and writes on the topics of business, technology, and design. She currently blogs for inkfarm.com, who specialize in Dell printer cartridges.