3D Printing Industry

The Week in 3D Printing: Print-a-Sub, Detroit’s Revival, A High School Scientist, and Daimler’s 3D Play

scale model scale architectural 3D model

We gawked at the U.S. Navy’s majestic 3D prowess, Detroit’s surprisingly 3D printing-enabled revival, a high schooler way beyond her time, and Daimler finally figuring out the whole “replacement part” thing, all this week in 3D printing.


The Verge blew our minds this week with the story of a 3D printed Navy submersible made possible thanks to the excellently named Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM(!) printer. The team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory printed four carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic pieces, pieced them together, and, in just a few days, for 90% less than it would have cost with traditional manufacturing, they had themselves a sub. That’s cool, but I’m pretty sure our community, if unleashed on the BAAM, would produce a fully functional Transformer in half the time.

Printing a new Motown

We talk a lot about 3D printed car parts, but what if more than just your car needed fixing? What if your whole city needed some replacement parts, stat? Well, that’s sort of what’s happened in Motor City. Detroit’s fluctuating fortunes are well-known, but what we didn’t know was how 3D printing an unprecedentedly accurate, enormous scale model of a new kind of urban environment could inspire others to give some gas to Motown’s revival. Check out incredible images of the Arena project in the video below, and read the whole story in Architectural Digest.

You CAN sit with her

Some people are (s)heroes before they get out of bed in the morning. Some of those people are teenage girls like Kavya Kopparapu, who just, you know, casually speaks to a crowd of tens of thousands of people about how, “To compete as a country, we need to compute,” starts her own amazing girls-in-STEM nonprofit, and, oh yeah, 3D prints a part that helps prevent blindness. Kopparapu and her team (brother Neeyanth, 15, and classmate Justin Zhang) looked to tackle diabetic retinopathy, a common eye ailment among diabetics that, when diagnosed, can be treated. The problem is diagnosis. So, they developed a cheap 3D printed lens that attaches to a smartphone — and has so far been 100% accurate in its diagnoses. Whether this lady were 16 (which she is) or 100 (which she could be, with all she’s done), we would still admire her just so, so much.

Finally, Daimler came to our party

You guys kill it with your 3D printed RC car replacement parts, wargaming tanks, sci-fi worlds, model railroads, tech accessories… But sometimes the big players just aren’t as nimble as you and your skills. That’s why, we’re happy to finally announce, Daimler has figured out that people want car parts they can’t get anymore, and you can 3D print that! Read all about the many lightbulb moments the company had to go through before reaching this epiphany at DigitalTrends.

About me
Editor in Chief, Shapeways Magazine + All Things Content, Shapeways
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