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All of the Materials We Can Currently Use for 3D Printing

All of the Materials We Can Currently Use for 3D Printing

3D printing is revolutionary, there’s no doubt about it! The capacity for people around the world to create 3D objects from scratch is becoming rapidly more accessible. We are at the point where almost anything that can be designed on a computer can be printed in three dimensions. Everyone from children to doctors and scientists are benefiting from 3D printing.

As 3D printing technology progresses one thing that continues to expand are the materials currently used in this printing–everything from metal and plastic to cement and even live human cells!

Basic 3D Printed Materials

While 3D printing seems like a brand new phenomenon, the process has actually been around for decades. Since the 1980s prototypes and models have been created using archaic versions of 3D printers. What’s changing is that now not only prototypes are being printed, fully functioning products can be produced.

Additionally, the ability for people to access basic materials for 3D printing is becoming increasingly common. The vast resources at our disposal create countless creative outlets–we are only limited by what we can dream up or scan and alter!

Plastics/Acrylic

a wide array of plastic and acrylic raw materials are available for consumers. Even kids are able to get involved as economic 3D printers for toys are now in existence.

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Glass

Current glass 3D printers thrive on the physics of molten glass and create designs that are mesmerizingly beautiful. Modern printed glass designs are as attractive as they are intelligent in their design.

Porcelain/Ceramics

Utilizing a capacity for accuracy more precise than even the most veteran potter’s hand, 3D printed porcelain and ceramic objects merge art and practicality. Printed ceramics can withstand temperatures of up to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Metals

Everything from precious metals and unique alloys are being used as 3D printing materials.

top-18k-gold

    Printed 18k Gold Keychain via Shapeways

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    Food

    Yep you read that right, food is already being printed using sanitary printing heads. Think about the potential for decorative treats and candies and the concept of fully-printed meals. This will correlate to impressive food concepts like dazzling chocolate models and even fully printed pizzas or burgers.

    pancake printer

      Pancake printer via 3D Printing

      3D Printing the Only 2D Material

      Graphene is perhaps the most revolutionary discovery to be made since it was uncovered back in 2004. The world’s thinnest solid has the following properties, all of which make it an extremely promising material:

      • The first 2D material with many unique properties
      • The thinnest, lightest object ever-only one atom thick!
      • The strongest material on Earth: harder than a diamond and 300x stronger than steel
      • It is more conductive than copper
      • It is transparent and bendable

      A printer for creating the world’s first three dimensional objects using the world’s first two dimensional material is truly sci-fi turned reality. It will make all kinds of components thousands of times stronger!

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      Bioprinting Human Tissues

      Some of the most groundbreaking applications for 3D printing have been in the healthcare niche. Earlier this year a team at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine began printing live human body parts, using a combination of living cells and a special gel.

      The steps to this process are fairly simple. It all starts with a scanned image of the body part to be printed. Layer after layer, tiny drop by tiny drop, the replacement body part is slowly printed out using a special intricate printer head.

      What separates this process from other 3D printed materials is fact that live human cells are used. Bioprinted replacement parts are attached directly to patients and regrow once accepted by the body. These development in 3D printing capabilities are part of a rapid upward curve; a major contributor to the future of healthcare tech. The goal is to print everything from noses, to muscles, to bones.

      Large Format 3D Printing

      The world is no longer limited to what can be printed in a small desktop sized 3D printer. Large format printer heads can move freely and print massive objects. The sky’s the limit as size constraints no longer exist as serious obstacles to further innovation.

      Aerospace Technology

      Some commercial planes are now outfitted with air ducts that are 3D printed. This is just the beginning of what will be mass produced for aerospace tech as GE has begun piloting efforts to print engine parts for planes.

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      3D Printed Buildings

      3dprintedhouse

        3D Printed House via Business Insider

        Entire buildings and structures are being printed in China. What this means is that homes will be printed in a matter of hours instead of being built by traditional methods which may take weeks or months.  A video by New China TV explains this process.

        Recently, ten structures to be used as office buildings were created from the ground up in only 24 hours using a 3D printer invented by Ma Yihe at WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Company. The walls are printed using a sustainable material made of construction waste and cement. Yihe hopes to print skyscrapers in the future.

        Featured photo credit: Maurizio Pesce Flickr via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on February 15, 2019

        7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

        7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

        Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

        Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

        Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

        So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

        Joe’s Goals

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          Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

          Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

          Daytum

            Daytum

            is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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            Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

            Excel or Numbers

              If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

              What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

              Evernote

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                I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                Access or Bento

                  If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                  Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                  You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                  Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                  All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                  Conclusion

                  I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                  What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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