The Best of Digital 2014
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The Best of Digital 2014

Summer 2014

DREAM WEAVERS - Ten 3D Printed Objects You'll Love

by: Nolan Shea

For better or worse, 3D printers are transforming the way ideas are brought to life.

3D printing is the process of taking a three-dimensional digital model and turning it into a physical object. You take a little heat, a dash of plastic, layer it all together, and voilà! You’ve taken an idea and turned it into a real, tangible object.

Not all 3D printing is magic, though. Defense Distributed, an online, open-source organization that designs firearms or “wiki weapons,” is taking 3D printing down a more ominous path, and putting gun control advocates on high alert.

But in a sea of innovation, firearms represent a small drop. Here are 10 awesome, life-affirming things 3D printers are bringing to life, today.

  1. Mini You

    Selfies are so 2013. Step into a life-sized 3D copy machine, scan and… wait. Forty-five minutes later, you'll be the proud owner of a smaller, plastic version of yourself. Hooray! Plastic you!

  2. Head, shoulders, knees, and bones

    Scientists are utilizing 3D printers and human cells to recreate a variety of lab grown, functioning human body parts, including bones, ears, blood vessels, and more. While much of the research is in its infancy, the advances made have delivered hope for many, especially organ-transplant patients.Hand- & Foot

  3. Tech Accessories

    Companies, like Nokia, are giving users the freedom to create fully custom phone shells and other accessories using 3D printing.

    Apple Android Nokia


  4. Quick Car Parts

    Fender benders aren’t any fun, but neither is waiting around for weeks for a new bumper to ship. Just call your local auto dealer, and some one can print you a new one. No shipping required. Car

  5. Print-a-Meal

    Love eating, but hate cooking? 3D printers are here to help. Startup Foodini is whipping up a number of 3D printed edible options such as burgers, pizzas, raviolis and cookies. It’s like an Easy Bake Oven for grownups.

  6. Coffee Cups Coffee Cups

    With all the money you’ve spent on gizmos and gadgets to create the perfect coffee brew, that ole’ black magic deserves the perfect cup. Coffee fiends with access to a printer can now create a model cup with materials like ceramic.

  7. I can haz plastik?

    Doge, Scumbag Steve, and many other memes are coming to life. Well, sorta. Thanks to 3D printing, anyone can purchase a favorite meme or cultural icon in 3D. Product websites like Shapeways are leading this pop culture-fueled category.

  8. Furniture of the Future Cat & Chair

    Furniture designers are dropping traditional materials, such as wood and metal, for more durable plastics. Add the help of 3D printers, and these contemporary and classic furniture pieces can be printed, pronto.

  9. Fashion Forward

    Fashion designers are turning to 3D printing for inspiration and access to highly sophisticated and intricate designs, creating shoes, dresses, jewelry, and much more. A few creations were even featured on the most recent season of fashion reality TV show, Project Runway.

  10. Music to Your Ears Music

    Musicians are turning to 3D printers for custom-built instruments. Ranging from violins to flutes to ukuleles, these futuristic melody-makers can help someone create the sounds they need—or maybe even create brand new ones.