If you haven’t been paying attention to 3D printing technology, now’s the time to wake up. This technology has the potential to become the most influential and important development since the internet. And while it’s currently being used to produce standard household items, there’s actually a lot of potential for creating some pretty crazy and unique products. Just how crazy and unique, you may ask? Let’s take a look at some specific products:
- Shoes. The biggest knock on 3D printing has been that many of the things people create are merely trinkets and accessories. In other words, the recreational 3D printer can’t really create anything of value. Well, this myth is busted when you consider that everything from stilettos to tennis shows can be made using a 3D printer.
- Food. Did you know that food can actually be printed? For most people, this sounds both dangerous and enticing. One company has already developed a printer that they claim will be a staple in kitchens across the world. The goal isn’t to necessarily replace cooking altogether, but rather to speed up the process for busy individuals.
- Glass products. While plastic is by far the most commonly used printing material, the latest printers can actually use other materials. This includes transparent glass. In the future, replacing broken glassware may be as simple as turning on your printer.
- Human face replica. Want to talk about creepy? Technology is in place that actually allows you to print a 3D replica of your own face. Your face can then be applied to bobble heads, dolls, and other toys for a tiny little replica of your existence. Now, why anyone would want to do this is another story – but it can be done!
- Makeup. At the TechCrunch Disrupt 2014 conference, presenters unveiled a 3D printer that can print makeup. The technology can currently print foundations, powders, and eye shadows. Creams and lipsticks are in the works. Imagine being able to print makeup from the comfort of your own home. It would open up entirely new options for the beauty industry.
- Condoms. “Safe sex is only a click away!” Can’t you already see the slogans for 3D-printed condom manufacturers? Yep, you read that right the first time. Scientists have actually developed technology that allows for skin-like condoms made from hydrogels.
- Musical instruments. Did you know that 3D printing technology can actually produce musical instruments that look and sound like traditionally manufactured instruments? Consider that guitars have been printed for musicians such as Triggerfinger, Simple Minds, and K’s Choice.
- Guns. While there are security concerns – and questions regarding durability and practicality – firearms can actually be 3D printed for as little as $25. The guns certainly aren’t on par with traditional firearms, but they do work. It’ll be interesting to see how this market expands and whether restrictions are placed on the in-home production of handguns in the future.
- Body parts. While many of the 3D products people are messing around with are trivial, there is some very real value to be extracted from this technology. Scientists and doctors have long been studying the possibility of using 3D-printed body parts in medicine. From skin to heart valves, doctors believe the future of medicine will be heavily linked to 3D printing.
The Future of 3D Printing
As you can see, there’s an incredible amount of potential for 3D printing. Whether it’s something as random as a shoe or as important as a human body part, 3D printing will soon be able to replicate practically anything you put your hands on. This technology will be incredibly exciting to watch in the years to come.