3D printing and Star Trek?

The latest 3D printing technology calls to mind real-world applications of fictional, futuristic technology

3D-printing3D printers have garnered attention in education as of late, due to their ability to generate unique objects and their capacity to engage students and drum up interest in STEM subjects such as engineering.

In fact, 3D printers help students make real-world connections between their classroom learning and careers and technological applications.

As the technology advances, many think it is approaching “Star Trek status,” as they liken 3D printing to the original series’ replicator technology.…Read More

Watch: Scientists optimize 3D printer to create new bones

We won’t be surprised if the time comes when we can print just about anything, says Yahoo! News. Even today 3D printing is advanced enough to create toys, a fully-operational car, and even teeth and blood vessels. Now, researchers from the Washington State University have come up with a technique to make new bones using a commercially-available 3D printer they optimized for the study. The repurposed printer sprays a plastic binder over a bed of bone-like calcium phosphate powder with silicon and zinc additives that double the strength of the man-made bone. This results in a sheet half a hair thin, so the process is repeated over and over again, building up layers of the ultra-thin sheet to create the structure. These artificial bones don’t actually replace real ones—they act as a temporary scaffold on which new bone cells grow, eventually dissolving inside the body with no side effects…

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3D printing spurs a manufacturing revolution

New technology is giving rise to never-before-possible businesses that are selling products such as iPhone cases, architectural models, and even low-cost, customizable prosthetic limbs, reports the New York Times. San Francisco-based Bespoke Innovations is using advances in a technology known as 3D printing to create prosthetic limb casings wrapped in embroidered leather, shimmering metal, or whatever else someone might want. Scott Summit, a co-founder of Bespoke, and his partner, an orthopedic surgeon, are set to open a studio this fall where they will sell the limb coverings and experiment with printing entire customized limbs that could cost a tenth of comparable artificial limbs made using traditional methods. A 3D printer, which has nothing to do with paper printers, creates an object by stacking one layer of material—typically plastic or metal—on top of another, much the same way a pastry chef makes baklava with sheets of phyllo dough. The technology has been radically transformed from its origins as a tool used by manufacturers and designers to build prototypes. These days, it is giving rise to a string of never-before-possible businesses. And while some wonder how successfully the technology will make the transition from manufacturing applications to producing consumer goods, its use is exploding…

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