It wasn’t that long ago 3D printing wasn’t much more than a novelty. When a working gun could be printed, the news was huge. In just a few short years, we’ve gone from being able to print firearms to printing custom pancakes, working jet engines, and usable thought prosthetic limbs.
Here are just a few of the highlights of innovation that we’ve seen so far.
#1. The 3D Mini Jet Engine
General Electric has developed a next-gen mini jet engine that was recently cranked up to 33,000 RPMs. The engine is only about a foot long and although it won’t power a commercial jet any time soon, it could be perfect for those remote control drones that you might want to land on the White House lawn.
The FAA just approved 3D printed parts for commercial flight, so it is entirely possible that 3D printed engines are just around the corner.
#2. The 3D Robot Safecracker
You can print your own robot with 3D printing technology today. Now granted it isn’t very big and it won’t bring you a favorite beverage while you’re playing video games, but it can help you get into your work or school locker when you’ve forgotten the combination. Dubbed the “Combo Breaker,” it figures out the 8 possible combinations based on a lock’s settings and then tries them all until one works.
If you’ve got world domination secrets in your safe, now might be the time to upgrade your security system.
Maybe safecracking isn’t your thing. Maybe you want a 3D printed robot to bring you a beverage while playing video games. That’s why you might want to consider Jimmy.
#3. Star Wars Hands
Kids today might not get their hands chopped off by their father who has joined the dark side, but they are still in need of a working prosthetic. Many kids can’t afford the medical cost of advanced devices. That’s where organizations like Enabling the Future are helping out. With more than 5,000 members and volunteers, dozens of children are receiving 3D printed arms and hands that help them enjoy life more fully.
You can get involved with 3D printing technology and helping others for the price of a t-shirt or a donation of $10 per month.
With more than 2,000 backers pledging over $470,000, this 3D printer takes mobile technology and infuses it with pancake technology. Using the same drafting instructions that would print out a plastic or metal component, PancakeBot lets you create intricate breakfast foods.
Brought to you by Storebound, don’t forget to pick up your laundry pods and your yogurt maker when this product hits store shelves in the next 12-18 months.
If you thought printing pancakes was cool, then you’ll love having a 3D printer that can create homemade candles and cookies. Imagine being able to walk up to your printer, instruct it to make you some chocolate chip cookies, and then have one freshly created for consumption.
It’s like a first-draft version of a real Star Trek replicator. This debuted at the 2015 CES, has a professional version, and prices are expected to begin around $1,000.
Believe it or not, we’re still just at the beginning phases of 3D printing technology. What kind of innovations are you most looking forward to seeing in the future?