5 amazing objects you can create with a 3D printer
3D printing is set to change the world – Thanks to the marvellously clever world of 3D printers, you can print just about anything. Just in case you need any more persuasion to join the printing revolution, here are five especially awesome objects just waiting to be made.
Why build a house out of bricks and mortar and run the risk of builders trampling mud throughout your house when you could print out eight large blocks and assemble them to create an 8x5metre home? That's right, mess-free housing in the time it takes to print and assemble. Shame somebody still needs to do the electrics and plumbing, though. If you don't fancy this rather outlandish-looking organic structure, not to worry – a Dutch architecture firm is preparing to 3D print a more conventional-looking canal house in Amsterdam.
What if you happen to live on the moon? Instead of the ProtoHouse 1.0, you could print yourself a moon dwelling like the European Space Agency is trying to do. Using lunar soil, the hope is that the Monolite D-Shape printer will be able to build an entire moon base building in a week, keeping astronauts safe from radiation.
Remember your first bicycle? Well, how about your first 3D printed bike? That's right, you can print out your very own two-wheeled contraption and actually go somewhere on it. We'll be honest, it's not going to be easy to build – and a plastic frame will not absorb bumps particularly well – but you can't have it all.
If you're more of a petrolhead, the 3D-printed Urbee car has you covered, too. Kor Ecologic's three-wheeler is built using a 3D printed ABS plastic frame over a conventional metal chassis – meaning that complex parts like a dashboard with air ducts can simply be printed in one piece, rather than assembled from several different components. 3D printing also lets the designers fine-tune each part, so that components can be lighter and stronger than conventionally-manufactured parts. All that results in a car that's just 545kg – but will, its designers say, meet the safety and tech requirements of Le Mans racing cars.
Another 3D printer
It's not quite a self-replicating Von Neumann machine, but you can use a 3D printer to produce another 3D printer. Or you can just print any replacement parts or modifications as and when you like, which is handy. Take your pick from the Cube or the Makerbot and set to work on building your very own robot army.