3D pressure printing
Arizona-based car manufacturers Local Motors has created the worlds first fully functional 3D-printed electric car manufactured with only 49 parts as opposed to a traditional 5000-bit car.
The battery-powered two passenger car is made of black plastic and reinforced with carbon fiber. Local Motors hope to offer 3D cars to around $ 1000 in the near future. The manufacturing process is cheaper and hopes that the car will lead to innovations in the market and accelerate the usual production methods.
3D-printed ears for designed children
In the first trial of its kind researchers at the London College 3D printer use to create ears that can be implanted on children with severe malformations. The process has been tested initially by implanting 3D ears in rats.
The worlds first 3D-printed gun called The Liberator is completely plastic. Fifteen of the sixteen gun weapons have been printed with a Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer. The only part not manufactured by the 3D printer is the shooter.
Liberator is a fully functional firearm but the type of plastic used is highly dependent. For example the gun has been printed with a plastic called Visijet and this exploded during testing. The 3D gun when manufactured in a stronger plastic like ABS can shoot eight rounds without any problems. The weapon was found to have sufficient power to penetrate several inches of meat as well as a human skull.
Nevertheless engineers are worried about detectable 3D-printed weapons. Since it is made of plastic it can apparently not be detected by metal detectors which makes it possible to pose a potential safety hazard.
3D printing in modern medicine
While the United States is pioneering for the use of 3D printing in biomedical research the NHS investigates the use of 3D printing in modern medicine. Replica 3DM A Wiltshire-based 3D printing company has provided 12 NHS Trust Hospitals with 3D printing stations designed to help create and print headlines for surgeons to perform operations.
Last month a researcher at Nottingham Trent University used 3D printing to produce a prosthetic human heart that has been described as close as possible to the real one.
Dieter Michael Krone is a D