Architectural, Medical, Animal Protection, and Space fields have all seen an impact on their respective lines of work due to breakthroughs in 3D printing. Constant leaps of improvement in the technology along with the boundless options of creativity have shown the promise that the somewhat new technology can offer. From cutting costs to making production rates more efficient, 3D printing may be the future of assembly.
In the past, you’ve probably seen 3D printed tiny homes like the ones featured on HGTV. While this was an awesome step in the right direction for architecture based printing, a company in Dubai has taken the game to the next level. The office of the future is now the temporary home of the Dubai Future Foundation which is placed on the Emirates Towers property. This building was constructed strictly by a 3D printer with a construction staff that consisted of only the need of one human being to monitor its progress. An office of this size marks the largest usable space that a 3D printer has ever created. The cost of building the elaborate office was only half the price of what a normal construction process would be with only 1 supervisor, 7 assemblers, and 10 electricians to piece it all together. This 2,690 square foot building only took a shocking 17 days to assemble to an operable level, and that is why the United Arab Emirates will push for the severe shift into 3D printing architecture in the near future.
Cancer research has been something that only sees better and better results while time goes on. Curing the actual disease is the ultimate win that every doctor and patient are looking for, but the complications that sometimes follow the treatments can be detrimental to one’s self-confidence. Recently, a 68 year old man from Indiana was struggling with this exact problem when he was unable to get a reconstructed jaw made out of titanium after his stint with tongue cancer. The heavy and droopy design was resolved when Dr. Travis Bellichi of the Indian University School of Dentistry looked outside the box. After receiving access to a 3D printer along with digital sculpting and mouldmaking tools, he was able to design a 3D printed jaw that was a lighter and more flexible option. The project took less time than a normal clay prosthetic or titanium mold would take. Doctors will look to replicate the process demonstrated by Bellichi as time moves on.
In 2011, extinction was declared for the black rhinos in West Africa as the result of the black market need for horns. Other species of Rhinos then followed this trend of extinction, and now there are limited amounts of rhinos in existence today while also under heavy attack. Once the obvious problem gathered enough attention, four experts apart of the BBC World Service Inquiry program met to discuss possible resolutions to the problem. After multiple discussions with an abundance of thought out resolutions, the general consensus was to implement 3D printed plastic horns to replace their original horns. Most poachers are easy to communicate the message to that the horns are indeed fake and then will proceed to back off. The low cost of 3D printing along with its accessibility make it a quick fix that mitigates a good portion of a giant problem.
Throughout the past week NASA has been conducting zero-gravity 3D printing experiments on Expedition 48. Once Jeff Williams, commander of Expedition 48, gathered all of the 3D printing hardware necessary for the lab’s microgravity science glove box, where he began trials testing how well or even if 3D printing could work during space exploration. To the ecstatic surprise of the commander, the experiment was a success proving that 3D printing did work in space. With a variety of other experiments that are set to take place, this shows a line of promise when it comes to emergency repairs and parts needed.