3D Printing Industry

The Week in 3D Printing: Florida Man Wins, Explosive Prints, Wearables for Plants, Safer AM, and a 3D Printed Burn

We celebrated a Florida man’s triumph after a quadruple amputation, got a liiiittle bit scared of 3D printed explosives, admired some plants’ new green wearables, found safety in numbers (really, data), and watched Burning Man’s Temple construction go digital, all this week in 3D printing.

Florida Man’s Best Tale Yet

We’ve all had some fun with the Florida Man meme from time to time. But just as the only reason that that meme exists is Florida’s amazing open records law, not all Florida Man reports have unhappy (or weird) stories behind them. St. Petersburg, Florida man Francisco Piedra fell onto some hard luck when a side effect of a medication used during heart surgery left him a quadruple amputee. Unable to afford the prosthetics he needed, Piedra relied on the help of the Hanger Clinic for his legs and the volunteers of e-NABLE for 3D printed prosthetic hands. Read more of the heartwarming tale here. And never laugh at another Florida Man story again (unless it involves alligators).

3d printed prosthetic hand

A simple model like this one can be used to create 3D printed prosthetics for patients like Francisco Piedra (Photo by IntelFreePress on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA)

Blowing Up Your Feed

Ok, this story might not go viral, but a printer that can print layers of explosives’ components, eliminating the need for humans to touch each of those components or the final, explosive mixture — well, that’s actually a very big deal. A group of researchers at Purdue University developed a specialized printer with a mobile print bed (rather than a moveable nozzle), which builds an ignitable nanothermite material out of layers of other nanomaterials. Discover the explosive final feat of the research at Interesting Engineering.

Like a FitBit for Your Fiddle-Leaf Fig

The Internet of Things has now extended to plants: Iowa State University has developed “tattoo sensors” that attach to leaves. These “wearables” can measure the transpiration from plants, so scientists can develop plants with greater drought-resistance. The sensors are also cheap — costing, ultimately, cents. Learn all the details here, and remember: one day your plants will be able to tell you when you’ve been neglecting them.

Photo courtesy Iowa State University

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

The more a 3D print differs from its original file, the more compromised its ability to do the job it’s being printed for. It’s a problem that will only get bigger as everything from cars to spaceships get 3D printed parts. Fortunately a group of North Dakota researchers has made progress in solving it. Using sensor data from digital imaging, their just-patented system either compares the print with a reference print or with its CAD model in real time, as the print progresses. Learn how routine printer maintenance birthed this brilliance here.

Sick Burn

This year’s Burning Man will feature a digitally fabricated Temple (a central feature of Black Rock City, which you can learn more about here). The design, called Galaxia, will center around a 3D printed mandala. Somewhat sadly, the structure will be built, only to be destroyed. In Silicon Valley, this is considered profound. See more gorgeous photos of the planned structure here.

Photo courtesy Mamou-Mani

About me
Editor in Chief, Shapeways Magazine + All Things Content, Shapeways
You may also like
3D Printing Industry
The Month in 3D Printing: South by Southwest Builds the Dream
March 30, 2018
The Community
Time to Apply: Shapeways Education Grant Deadline Is Mar. 25
March 19, 2018
3D Printing Industry
5 Ways 3D Printing Can Revolutionize Your Business
March 14, 2018