It sometimes sounds like science fiction – making artificial body parts such as chest prosthetics with a printer. And sometimes it looks like something out of the future, as in the case of some of the new shoe styles hitting the runway. But whether it is in healthcare, the arts, or the fashion industry, 3D printing is making its value known and helping to change the face of the world.
3D Printing in the Medical World
It is nothing earth-shattering new to have an artificial body component, such as a limb, built and fitted for a patient in need. However, with advances in 3D printing the rudimentary artificial components are taking a giant step forward and changing the face of the medical world.
Recently a male patient who lose his sternum and a portion of his rib cage to cancer received the first chest prosthetic developed from a 3D printer. The prosthetic was made of titanium, a very durable material which is also beneficially lightweight. Typically, when patients had to consider titanium implants their doctors faced the daunting tasks of piecing the prosthetics together, using several pieces and resulting in joints and connectors. One of the challenges with this approach was that over time there was a greater risk of one or more of the individual pieces becoming loose. The more pieces, joints, and connection points that exist, the more likely it is that a positioning complication can arise.
To provide a prosthetic, 3D printed device such as a rib cage, doctors have to perform detailed 3D scans of the area needing the replacement part. High levels of expertise, and printers, are necessary to accomplish such a feat.
Another example of 3D printing in the medical world comes to us from 24-year-old Amos Dudley, who after searching for an option for braces to correct his smile, ended up printing his own mouthpiece. While clear braces are definitely on the rise in popularity, especially for adults, they also come with a higher price tag. They can cost up to $8000 or more, a hefty bill for a college student or adult without good dental coverage.
Dudley was able to make his own clear braces for an astonishing $60 with the aid of a quality 3D printer available at his school. As more successes are realized in the medical world, 3D printing is poised to be on the forefront of amazing medical advances.
3D Printing in the World around You
It is not just about the cutting edge of medicine. All around us 3D printing is providing access to custom parts and objects, ranging from soap dishes to automotive components. In fact, in recent years, 3D printing is behind some fairly creative, and useful, contributions to our world. Consider the following list of just a sample of the things you might use every day which someone has developed a 3D printed, working model of already.
· A desk-stand for a laptop
· A custom camera lens
· A piggy bank
· The structure for a wall clock
· A weaving loom
· An acoustic guitar
· Custom toys
· Hanging lights
· Wraps for gear cords
· Bottle openers
· Bathroom fixtures
· Business card holders
· Durable plastic tools
· Toilet paper roll holders
· Handles for shopping bags
· Keyboard stands
· Win racks
· Guitar picks
· Office supplies
· And SO much more!
It is clear that if you can think of an object, you can find someone who is considering a way to 3D print that object. Getting even more creative, there are already 3D printings happening of food. That’s right – want a chocolate Eiffel Tower? A 3D printer can do that. The mantra is becoming if you can think it, 3D printing can make it.
3D Printing in the Fashion World
In 2015 several steps were made in the fashion world when it comes to footwear. Several well-known architects and designers came together to design shoes for United Nude – shoes created just with 3D printing technology.
The technology of 3D printing allowed each style to be printed in about 24 hours, combining two different types of materials – a hard nylon for the soles and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) for the upper portions of the shoes. This TPU is a more flexible material which allows for the shoe to not only be custom-designed, but fit and wearable.
Advances in 3D printing allow fashion to really explore the artistic components of footwear. Designers are no longer confined by standard materials used in making shoes. Instead, designers can work with industry experts to bring about styles that make a statement like no other before in footwear history. Examples of some of the 3D printed shoes appearing in Milan in 2015 include a pair printed in the shape of a hoof, a pair that featured elegant spikes surrounding the feet, and a lattice-style that extended up the ankle to the calf.
Designers made efforts to make sure that these shoes were comfortable to wear, and that the people wearing them felt secure in their footing. We’re not talking about strapping plastic parts onto your feet. We are talking about custom shoes with an artistic edge like none we’ve seen step down the runway.
3D Printing at the Head of the Fashion World
It is clear that 3D printing is at the head of the fashion world, and I am excited that I am able to enter into this new realm with my custom headpieces. Just as footwear can be the punctuation at the end of the fashion statement, headwear can be the exciting intro – the piece that often gets noticed first.
Using 3D printing technology, I am manufacturing festive headpieces. For those who want to make an impactful statement, headpieces are a forward-thinking way up from standard hair adornments. Because of the capabilities of 3D printing advancements, I am able to customize each piece, and each is lightweight and very comfortable, despite the ornate designs.
What kind of statement do you want to make? With 3D printing technology I am poised to take my design experience and provide clients with elegant, edgy, or even just-for-fun fashion accessories like no others available on the market. Let me know how I can help put You at the head of the fashion world with one of my custom, 3D printed headpieces!