From the ingenious to the truly bizarre, the applications for 3D printing seem to be never ending. As more stories come out regarding this magnificient technology, we’ll continue curating the most interesting ones for your reading pleasure. Over the past month, here are some of the most amazing new 3D-printing applications.
The world’s first 3D printed bridge is ready for use
As you may remember, this summer we mentioned that a 3D-printed cycle bridge was under construction in the Netherlands. Well, it’s finished and cyclists are now free to cross one of Amsterdam’s popular canals.
The production time took three months and features 800 individual layers of concrete. One of the core advantages of 3D printing as a production methodology is that it requires less raw materials. With additive construction, you only use what you deposit - the wastage is negligible.
The bridge has been tested with 2 tonne loads, so cyclists should have no worries when they pass. This bridge is one of many positive stories about 3D printing being used for architectural designs
Rebuilding Mosul, one print at a time
In 2014, ISIS took over the city of Mosul. During the invasion and in the subsequent months, the city’s architecture as well as sites of historical significance were damaged beyond repair, most significantly: the 12th-century Al-Nouri mosque and minaret.
When ISIS were defeated earlier this year by the Iraqi army, plans were laid to restore the city to its former glory. In a proposition for building affordable housing in Mosul, French company, Vincent Callebaut Architectures, advocated creating a set of modular bridges (to replace the ones that were destroyed) made from the rubble that fills the city.
Unlike the previous bridges, these ones would be inhabited, farmable and you guessed it: created using a 3D printer. More specifically, five 3D printers in the form of articulated spiders that would be able to erect 30 houses per day.
The rubble would be crushed and transported to recycling centers by drones, then supplied to 3D printing centers. There is a 10 year plan for carrying out the project, which you can learn more about here.
A brand new jaw
One of the advantages of using 3D printing for implants and prosthetics is that you can create anatomically correct pieces for each individual. For a prosthetic jaw, it’s crucial that the dimensions of the implant perfectly fit the contours of the patient’s face.
A woman from Swansea developed a tumour in her jawbone, which meant she had to have a substantial piece of her jaw removed. After receiving a 3D printed titanium implant, she couldn’t be happier. While 3D printing is still sometimes thought of as a novelty technology, it’s becoming commonplace for procedures such as this.