3 Innovative Uses of 3D Printing from 2015

Since the birth of 3D printing back in the 1980’s the technological advancement has become known largely because of its development of the prototype industry.

Speaking to Prototype Projects, they told us that “it has allowed developers to produce more accurate prototypes and a higher volume for lower costs than ever before.”

While this is brilliant for the development of new technologies, it doesn’t mean a lot to the average Joe apart from the new iPhone reaching shelves a month or two quicker.

However, in the last couple of years the technology has begun to meaningfully affect other areas of industry besides prototype creation. 2015 was a huge year for this development, so here are three of the most innovative uses of 3D printing last year.

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Rib Cage & Sternum

If you Google “3D printing and medicine” you’ll find that one of the more brilliant developments in 3D printing has been its uses in the world of medicine.

Over the last couple of years there have been numerous heart warming stories of how the technology has allowed for the design of more personalised prosthetics, surgical implants and other brilliant medical innovations.

One of the most impressive from 2015 was the development of a sternum and rib cage for Spanish cancer patient who had lost his due to the removal of the sarcoma tumour.

The complex geometry of this particular case meant that the usual plate implants used for this type of surgery would come loose over time, so another solution was needed.

Thankfully an innovative Australian developer helped the hospital develop a 3D solution for the man which he has since had fitted.

Automotive Industry

When most people think of 3D printing they think of plastic prototypes which are not much good other than to look at, however over the last couple of years this has changed.

Recent developments mean that metals can be intricately printed to become working parts not just prototypes, including in cars.

Behind the scenes over the last year or so, a number of car manufacturers have been finding out just what this tech’s capable of, with interesting results, as outlined in this article from The Wall Street Journal.

Effectively what it will mean is that anything from car exterior panels to gear knobs, engine parts to wing mirrors will soon be the creation of 3D printing instead of standard manufacturing techniques because in short, it’s much more efficient.

The brilliance of this has already been tested in the first fully operational 3D car, which to us is great news!

Fine Dining

Away from the development of sustainable and rigid materials, 3D printing has also been making a splash in the culinary world.

3D printing is obviously an increasingly successful form of production because of its intricate accuracy, so why couldn’t that be translated into food presentation or even meal creation?

Well thanks to the invention of the Foodini 3D printer, some of the worlds top chefs such as Paco Perez(who has a number of Michelin star restaurants)have embraced the technology in their preparation and their presentation.

While it is early days for food 3D printing, there was a time when we all thought the microwave was a touch futuristic, so who knows…

Clearly 2015 was ahuge year for the development of the 3D printer and with it reaching into a wide variety of different sectors, 2016 could be even more exciting. Watch this space…