3D Printing: Top 3 Highlights of 2015

It has been such an eventful and exciting year for the 3D printing industry! 2015 is almost over, so we decided to give you a quick highlight of the Top 3 projects that caught our attention throughout the year and really inspired us.

3D printing in space

Picture from www.dailymail.co.uk

3D printing is no longer confined to Earth! Can you imagine? A 3D printer, manufactured by Made in Space boarded The International Space Station in 2014 and earlier this year the very first objects, printed in microgravity, came back to Earth. They will be tested at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre and compared to samples produced with the same printer in ground conditions.  The goal of these tests is to verify that 3D printing works in micro-gravity as well as it does on Earth.

If 3D printing provides the same results in Space, it could pave the future of a sustainable, self-sufficient supply chain for tools and parts needed on the station. Reliable 3D printing in space can reduce the costs of missions which travel far from Earth and improve safety conditions.

Over and above that, it could be an open sesame to forming space colonies that would not rely on Earth supplies.

Watch NASA’s unboxing video to find out what the first objects 3D printed in Space were!

3D Printed Prostheses

Picture from www.openhandproject.org/

We are still far from 3D printing transplantable organs and living tissues on demand.

However, we are not far from positively changing the life of thousands of people living with an amputation or limb anomaly. Traditional prostheses can cost up to $100, 000, plus their mechanical look aggravates the feeling of loss and negatively affects the physiological well-being of some amputees.

3D printing has made prostheses more affordable, more accessible and definitely better looking! A 3D printed prosthesis cost less than $1000. That’s a reduction of two orders of magnitude!

What is more, communities like Enabling the Future and The Open Hand Project have flourished and significantly grown in popularity over the past year. They offer a platform for designers and makers who create, customise and print prostheses models for free!

We are happy to see these projects blossom and hope that the number of passionate 3D volunteers will continue to grow and bring a positive change to more people in need of these devices.

3D Printed Threepio Droid

Picture from https://www.yahoo.com/movies/

We have some eager Star Wars fans at 3D Print Works and we were very excited to find out that the costume of Threepio – the iconic droid – was made with a 3D printer. Anthony Daniels who played the C-3PO throughout the existence of the Star Wars sequel, gave an interview for Yahoo Movies where he shared more details about his new droid costume. The 69-years old British actor said it was much easier to put the 3D printed costume on and off and the fitting process was less time-consuming.

We are not very surprised that 3D printing technology has found its way to the Star Wars film set. The technology it is not a new thing for the movie industry, but it definitely adds to our excitement and we cannot wait to see the 3D Printed Threepio!

To sum up, 2015 was a very important year for the 3D printing industry. It has confirmed its position among the most exciting areas in the current technology landscape. Not only that, but it has gradually entered the mainstream with a wide range of affordable filament materials and desktop 3D printers. We are beyond happy that we have been part of one of the fastest growing and most promising technology sectors and we are sure that another productive and eventful year lies ahead!