Every month that goes by, more is written about the wonderful applications for 3D printing technology. From architecture to automotives, it’s hard to find an industry that isn’t being substantially changed by 3D printing. Here are some of the most exciting stories to hit the news in the past month.
Not so long ago, the Netherlands became home to the world’s first 3D printed bridge. In recent news, the Dutch city of Eindhoven will be the location for a number of fully habitable 3D printed houses.
Known as Project Milestone, these houses have already received interest from 20 local families. The homes will be constructed using a specialised 3D printer that extrudes cement. Additively constructing the properties not only saves money on material costs, it also ensures a sturdy structure. Van Gurp, the pioneer behind the project, estimates that as many as 5% of all homes will be additively constructed in 5 years!
3D printed mascara
In the world of cosmetics, 3D printing is also making headway. Leading cosmetics brand, Chanel, have recently launched a mascara brush that is additively constructed. But what is the point of creating a brush using this technology?
Well, 3D printing allows for extremely intricate details to be printed without man-made error. The micro-cavities in the brush allow for a effective absorption of mascara onto the eye lashes. The bristles of the brush have been specifically arranged in order to create volume and definition for the applicant. It will be interesting to hear the consumer feedback for how this brush compares to others on the market.
Additive manufacturing has a longstanding history with military applications. By modifying parts in small ways using a 3D printer, enormous savings can be achieved. For instance, at Yokota Air Base in Japan, a standard-issue gas mask can be turned into an aircraft oxygen system with some 3D printing wizardry.
These respiratory protection systems are expensive to manufacture, but with some off-the-shelf components as well as some 3D printed parts, a much cheaper solution was found. Modifying one mask costs less than a dollar, yet actually saved the US Army a potential $8 million.
General Motors saves $300,000
The military are not the only ones saving money with 3D printing. Since standardising the technology for production processes, General Motors have made huge savings. However, it isn’t only car parts that are being printed. Employees are also printing parts to help with the factory repairs, such as socket parts and hangars. For more information about General Motors’ smart manufacturing project, check out this informative video.