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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 May 14, 2019

        8 Replacements for Google Notebook

        8 Replacements for Google Notebook

        Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

        1. Zoho Notebook
          If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
        2. Evernote
          The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
        3. Net Notes
          If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
        4. i-Lighter
          You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
        5. Clipmarks
          For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
        6. UberNote
          If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
        7. iLeonardo
          iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
        8. Zotero
          Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

        I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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        In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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