Last month we covered a selection of exciting stories from the realm of 3D printing, including props for an upcoming Hollywood film and a method for printing gluten-free food. There are no shortages of stories this month regarding innovative 3D printing applications - here are some of the most interesting ones from across the world.
Skyscrapers in Dubai
3D printing has been used for a multitude of architectural applications in the past - you may remember some years ago when there were plans to 3D print a base on the moon. While not quite as challenging as printing on the moon, plans to additively construct a skyscraper in Dubai present some unique engineering difficulties.
In a city known for its incredible skyline full of skyscrapers, this architectural project may be the most unique of all. Using a crane printing system, the skyscraper can be constructed at extremely fast speeds (compared to conventional construction methodologies). The system will be able to cope with high speeds and also has a layer smoothing system to ensure the skyscraper has completely flat surfaces (not consistent with the stereotypical 3D printing aesthetic).
3D printed cheese
Sometimes, a 3D printing news story gets circulated that makes you speculate whether it’s potentially revolutionary, or just plain weird. This story certainly fits the bill.
3D printing has been used to construct food before, but we’ve never seen cheese printed - yet! A team of scientists at University College Cork have set up a 3D printer to deposit softer, stringier cheese when melted. It’s easy to see how this could be used to heighten the taste of pasta dishes or burgers.
After melting the cheese at 75°C for 12 minutes, the team printed it using a modified 3D printer. Amazingly, 3D printed cheese is 45-49% softer than untreated processed cheese. It was also darker and more fluid in composition.
As interesting as this sounds, the real question is whether the public will want to consume cheese that was deposited out of a 3D printing machine.
It’s been quite some time since the world quivered when the very first 3D printed gun was created. Since then, we’ve seen 3D printing be used in the construction process of a multitude of weapons - thankfully, most of them have been created by government organisations rather than criminals.
Recently, the US military announced the most revolutionary 3D printed weapon to date - a grenade launcher called RAMBO. Every component of the weapon was created using 3D printing, other than the springs and fasteners.
The ramifications of this are vast. The military could be supplied with weapons which are cheaper and faster to manufacture. Additionally, mobile 3D printers could be used to construct weapons on the battlefield, which could be impactful from a strategic perspective.
A spokesman stated: “Designs and parts previously unachievable can now be realised. Complex designs that lighten, simplify and optimise armaments are now feasible and manufacturable”.