Sunday, 21 October 2012

3D printing

3D printing or additive manufacturing has finally reached a tipping point. The 3D Printshow London 2012 this weekend showcased what can be achieved.

The software is now user friendly e.g. Google SketchUp and the printers are 'cheap'.

3D printers for the home are around £1000; brands include formlabs, MakerBot, ultimaker and cb-printerReprapcentral has a 3D printer store.

3D printing has been used for medical purposes for sometime. For instance, creating models from CT scan data to plan operations and to print custom prostheses. As the technology becomes cheaper there will be many more applications.

Biological 3D printing is also making progress. Organovo is one company producing printed tissue. The video below demonstrates printing blood vessels using an off the shelf printer.

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