By Pete Dreyer
ODD Atom guitar
This Les Paul-inspired axe has an intricate lattice design made of Duraform PA, an ultra-strong form of nylon. It's fused together using selective laser sintering - a more durable form of 3D printing that fuses together multiple 0.1mm layers of nylon powder. Buyers can choose their preferred hardware to go with the printed guitar body.
In June 2011, a Dutch woman received a replacement jaw. No big deal you may think, but this mandible was built from scratch by a 3D printer. The process is similar to that of the ODD guitar, with layers of powder - this time titanium - fused together by a laser. The result was a replacement jaw that was incredibly accurate to the patient, lowering her recovery time and saving costs for both her and the hospital.
Link: BBC News
This flute is the handiwork of MIT student Amit Zoran. But Zoran is no traditional craftsman - this flute was built via CAD software called Rhino 4.0, and crafted by Objet's Connex500 3D printer. Although it's needs some tweaking, the sound is acoustically very good. We could be seeing all sorts of musical instruments - even totally new designs - being built like this in the future.
This project to make a 3D-printable gun has been the subject of much media attention, and has made great strides in recent years. So far though, only certain gun components can be machined in this way, and even those are prone to breakage. So no, you can't print AK-47s in your shed.
Micro Formula 1 Car
Researchers at Vienna University of Technology have printed an exact replica of an F1 car, but measuring just 330x130x100 micrometers - to contextualize, that makes the model slightly narrower than a human hair. It was done using two-photon lithography - a process that allows the building of nano-structures in just minutes.
Staff at Harvard's Semitic Museum have been attempting to renovate some ancient statues via 3D printing. The statue in question is that of a lion - a symbol of the near eastern goddess fertility goddess Ishtar. Using a more intact version of the statue from the University of Pennsylvania, experts are managing to restore this artifact using high-density foam and the potential for advancement in the field of archaeology is enormous.
Link: Harvard Semitic Museum
French company Objet are undoubtedly the pioneers of 3D printing, and there's nothing they love more than printing huge 3D models just to prove that they can. This giant wrench is fully functional, if totally impractical and proof that 3D printers can deal with extremely large objects as competently as they handle the microscopic.
Vinyl is as fashionable as it ever has been, with many music connoisseurs still preferring the analog acoustics of a record to the digitized sound of a CD or MP3. Seattle-ite Amanda Ghassaei has been attempting to reproduce classic albums on records made from printable plastics.
Link: Amanda Ghassaei
A model of your unborn child
Yes, you read that right. Japanese company Fasotec will scan you if you're 8-9 months pregnant. They then take that scan, and input it into a 3D printer, which creates a 3D model of your unborn foetus, encased in resin. If that's how you roll. Or if you want to freak your kids out in 15 years time.
In partnership with Continuum Fashion, Shapeways has created the first ever printed, wearable bikini. The front, back and straps all come separately and are hooked onto each other. The challenge was to create a comfortable fabric out of solid nylon. The answer? Thousands of circular nylon plates, connected by tiny springs.