The Wonders of 3-D printing

It feels like The Diamond Age these days with the ability to print just about anything in 3-D. Students from University of Washington created a seven foot 3-D boat made from recycled milk cartons and entered it into Seattle’s Milk Carton Derby

3-D printing is quickly becoming accepted and used commonly for manufacturing and industrial design. NASA has been testing a new breed of 3-D printers that could create pieces of equipment on demand. Electron beam freeform fabrication (EBF3)  can build metal parts in zero gravity environments and would cut back on overall weight of the trip (and fuel) .

Another revolutionary idea for 3-D printing that could happen soon is in the drug manufacturing industry where a “Chemputer” would be able to print out your prescription. Lee Cronin a chemist at the University of Glasgow has an ambitious idea that this printer would be able to print molecules anywhere.

I have to admit that even though the concepts and applications for all the amazing functional uses 3-D printing can do I am still even more amazed at the art work and sub-culture of artists who are using these extraordinary machines to make their ideas come to life. Nervous System uses a computer to generate designs drawing inspiration from nature and creates gorgeous and intricate art, jewelry and houswares.

3-D printing has the ability to make needle and thread obsolete in clothing designs. Jiri Evenhuis is one of the first designers to see the great potential in printing out clothes that might normally take weeks to make into just hours of printing.

But I am in love with these designs by Iris van Herpen in collaboration with architect Daniel Widrig and manufacturer MGX by Materialise

 Her ten looks represented ‘Crystallization’: the process of water turning into crystal. Gorgeous no?

Oh the possibilities from furniture, to cars, to buildings? Dream big and print it.


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