[FEATURE STORY- 3D-PRINTING] 3D-PRINTING APPLICATIONS OTHER THAN IN MAKER’S PROJECTS

by Liang-Jie Lin  

When it comes to 3D printing, as the print head moves back and forth with the part printed layer by layer, the work is completed in a short time. Behind the simple steps actually lie countless details to pay attention to. Sometimes, the printed objects may end up failures if the gaps or curves in the design are not properly set.

To decrease error settings and attract more users, there has been software that can convert 2D images to 3D ones and perform self-calibration. On top of that, 3D-printing can also be used in almost all industries, such as medicine, construction, and food? The following are some amazing application and technology in 3D-printing.

Food

When you visit the freezers in a supermarket, would you buy a pack of food printed with words that say “3D-Printed Steak?” In fact, when 3D-printed food was invented, there were a lot of questioning and debates. Some people do not understand why there needs to be such kind of food. Supposedly, they will not taste quite as real food, right?

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3D-printed vegan steak (Source: DQ)

At present, there have been research teams that propose to produce food using 3D-printing. Edible batter, gels, powders, and liquids can be put in a 3D-printer, and the production starts after the nutritional content of each meal is calculated through big data. Food coloring can also be added to make the food look more palatable.

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The world’s first 3D-printing restaurant (Source: FOOD INK.)

Construction

In the story of The Three Little Pigs, the little pigs build houses with straw, sticks, and bricks. With the technology today, a house can be built using 3D-printing, too. Through a large robotic arm with multi-axis movements, buildings can be built with thin layers with a constant thickness that is stacked up onto each other. Also, the technology saves costs of labor and material.

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3D-printed structure (Source: Casa n’ More)

Prosthetics

3D-printing comes in handy in medical treatment as well. In the past, assistive devices and prosthetics were expensive and took a long time to produce. If the user is a child, the devices must be modified frequently according to the growth of the child’s body. With 3D technology, producing devices takes a shorter time and saves more money, and the devices can also be modified repeatedly. In addition to applications on humans, there have been successful cases on animals. It is no exaggeration to say that 3D-printing really is powerful!

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3D-printed prosthetics (Source: mothering)

Conclusion

Technology is becoming more advanced because of people’s needs. 3D-printing is no longer just a method of creation but has become a new way to produce food, houses, and prosthetics. The above applications all come from the integration of 3D-printing and different disciplines. Due to people’s needs, 3D-printing technology is no longer exclusive to Makers. Instead, it can be applied in medical care, food industry, and building materials to create a more convenient life for the public.

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