Make me anything

I’ve written about 3D printers here before, but that was ten months ago and new things keep appearing. And they’re all so science-fictional.

How about building on the moon? Scientists at USC have come up with a plan to use lunar regolith to make concrete, and use that concrete in a giant 3D printer to build housing. Robots could do the building, so we could show up and move right in.

It’s only a tiny bit less science-fictional to use them to build structures here on Earth.

I mentioned previously that scientists were working on ways to build organs with 3D printers. How about a lower jaw? The Belgian and Dutch physicians and engineers built the jaw from fused titanium and implanted it. The elderly recipient did not have to undergo intensive reconstructive surgery, and could speak and swallow the day after receiving the implant.

My third new project isn’t as snazzy, perhaps, but I’m fascinated anyway. Using an Open Source 3D printer, Open Source modeling software, and public data from the UGSG, David Hirmes built a 3D map of the Hudson River valley. I think that’s dreadfully neat. How could the ability to readily create tangible 3D models of data be used in science? Education? Art? What else can we map, and what can be done with those maps?

(Photo by David Hirmes. Used by permission.)

3D printing has even found its way into fashion, something long-predicted by SF authors like Ian McDonald. Business is catching on too.

If you had a 3D printer, what would you make? Or do you already?

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