April: it feels like 2014 has just started, but the first quarter is already lying behind us. And as 3D printing developments go faster than a cannonball, the end of this first quarter is the perfect occasion to look back on the last months and check out a selection of 10 of the most remarkable things that were 3D printed in 2014. From a 3D printed kayak to a brand new woman’s skull.
1: Promotional mugs
In Russia it’s illegal to produce bags, mugs, pens and similar souvenirs for campaign purposes, although printing items is legal. One of the candidates of a local election, Sergei Pakhomov, has circumvented the law by distributing 3D printed campaign mugs. He called the mugs “champaign leaflets”, as the the mugs were all printed.
2: a kayak
Jim Smith of Grass Roots Engineering 3D printed an entire kayak. He created a 3D printed 16ft 8in [5.08m] long kayak made of ABS plastic and now the man can proudly say he’s produced the world’s first 3D printed kayak (image: Grass Roots Engineering).
3: entire crime scenes
The Police Department from Roswell has come up with something brilliant in their hunt for criminals, namely a so-called Faro 3D scanner to scan complete environments during major accidents and crime scenes. It’s a 3D scanner which uses a laser to capture information. The data can be opened on a computer and what will appear is a 3D image of the whole crime scene.
4: a pelvis
A man who has lost half his pelvis to bone cancer can be relieved thanks to 3D printing, as the technique enabled a surgeon to create a complete new pelvis for the patient. The doctor, Craig Gerrand, used 3D printing as well as scanning techniques in order to perform what appears to be the first transplant of its kind.
5 – an entire woman’s skull
Another medical happening: doctors in The Netherlands successfully managed to replace a patient’s skull by a 3D printed version. A 22-year-old woman from The Netherlands suffered from a rare disease, which made her skull grow. The 3D printed version saved her life.
6: 3D models of a heart
14-month-old boy Lian Cung Bawi suffered from a failing heart. Heart surgery is a difficult kind of operation for surgeons to perform, but it even becomes more complicated when a child’s heart is object of surgery. The hearts of young children are automatically smaller and more complex than grown-up counterparts. Fortunately, a 3D printer used to print out 3D models of the failing heart, was able to help out the boy.
— 3D Printing.com (@3dprintingcom) April 2, 2014
7: a canal house
Even thought it’s still under construction, the 3D Print Canal House was one of the major news facts regarding 3D printing this year – so far. In case you’ve never heard about this tech project: in Amsterdam a team led by Hedwig Heinsman from DUS Architects is 3D printing an entire house, using a giant 3D printer, called the KamerKamer (‘chamber maker’).
8: a working bioprinter
three students from Ohio have successfully created a working 3D bioprinter that can print and grow new bacteria. Jamie Allison, their LHS biotechnology teacher, had tears running down his face when he found out about the new device: ”You don’t see this happen every day. I’ve seen something like this happen now once in my career.”
9: a fingerprint model
Scientists at Michigan State University have created the first model of a three-dimensional human fingerprint. The researches state that this system is able to improve fingerprint-matching technologies and its security systems. The technique works by taking a 2D image of a fingerprint and turning it into a 3D object.
10: a scanner for 3D printed guns
Researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) claim to have created a prototype of a scanner, which is able to detect plastic 3D printed guns, bombs and knifes on people. It could be used at security gates in order to improve security.