3D Printing Industry

The Week in 3D Printing: Magic Materials, Tantalizing Techniques, Printing People, and Winning the Wind

We watched in awe as new materials and techniques emerged from unexpected places, considered a future where organs are replaceable with 3D printing, and envisioned a taller turbine, all this week in 3D printing.


In techniques and materials this week, MIT unveiled a printing technique that, by melting the plastic much more quickly, results in what can only be described as FDM 3D printing on speed (view it in action below, and learn more at TechCrunch), researchers from the U.K.’s University of Nottingham figured out how to print working circuit boards using UV light (Digital Trends has the full story), and West Africa’s WoeLab has created a 3D printer made of e-waste, turning a massive pollution problem into an economic opportunity (via CNN).

Would you like eyes with that?

Soon, skin and other organs will be replaceable with 3D printing, if two teams of researchers can scale their incredible discoveries. Punny Swedish bioprinting firm Cellink created a bio-ink containing human cells that will be useful for testing cosmetics in the near term and growing organs in the long-term, as the BBC reported. In another leap forward for bio-inks, a team of scientists has developed a bacterial cellulose ink that takes a material that was limited to sheets (great for surface lesions, not so much for organ cancers) into the 3rd dimension, meaning deeper-tissue applications are on the way (get the nitty-gritty details at The Verge).

Up where the air is clear

It might not surprise you that up high, the wind blows stronger. But, for windmill manufacturers on the cusp on a global wind energy revolution, certain heights are unreachable for traditionally manufactured turbines. Imagine a 10-story-tall building with a three-story building slung across the top, cruising down the highway, and the problem immediately becomes clear. California’s RCAM Technologies is looking to bridge the gap between those high-velocity, higher-altitude wind zones and the power-generating windmills that need to reach them. The answer is on-site reinforced concrete 3D printing, allowing windmills to reach almost double the height of the tallest traditionally manufactured turbines. Read more at Green Tech Media, and watch it in action below.

Cover image: Wind Turbines and Mt. Hood by flickr user lamoix, CC BY 2.0

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