16 Coolest 3D Printing Applications

Everything from food to fashion to actual human body parts

  • 16 Coolest 3D Printing Applications

    3D printing is the way of the future and it’s only getting more accessible. But in addition to new hardware, a great deal of software is being created to match the newer, better, smaller, and more-affordable machines that are constantly coming out.

    Some of the following projects are incredible with people creating everything from food to fashion to actual human body parts. Read on for our picks of the coolest projects.

    3D Printed... songs?

    Yeah, you read that right. Remember when you would watch the trippy moving “representation” of your song on your old Windows Media Player in the early 2000’s? This is like the grown-up version of that. Reify has created software that can listen to your music and create beautiful art from it. Source
  • Fabric Embellishments

    Fashion is often on the cutting edge, so it’s no surprise it’s started to pick up on 3D printing applications. What’s cool about the one above, though, is that you can use the software and materials to create an awesome printed design and then sew it on to an existing piece of clothing – it’s a really neat DIY and customizable twist.

    Some of the following projects are incredible with people creating everything from food to fashion to actual human body parts. Read on for our picks of the coolest projects.
  • Bones

    See that grey piece in the spine that doctor is holding? That’s a 3D printed vertebra. Not just for fun – like an actual vertebra that’s going to into an actual person’s spine. That person is Minghao, who was discovered to have a rare bone cancer, and a malignant tumor was growing in his second vertebra, so it needed to be replaced. This team of doctors printed him a new one from titanium powder, which is lightweight and sturdy, and its porous structure will help the bones fuse with it over time.
  • 3D 3D Glasses?

    Take a minute and think about what you were doing at 13 years old. If your answer is something like picking your nose and barely passing Algebra, prepare to feel very inadequate. The cyborg-glasses pictured above are a sort of DIY-Google Glass type of thing – created by a 13 year old. He 3D-printed the glasses frames and combined them with some other high-tech gear to create his very own pair for under $100.
  • Buildings

    People are already creating buildings with 3D printers, but usually by printing pieces of the building that are then all stuck together. The building pictured above is different. Those will all be printed in one go, the way smaller 3D printing projects are, with a very, very big 3D printer. Fittingly, when it’s complete, it will be located in the Emirates and house workers at the nearby Museum of the Future.
  • Musical instruments

    If you’re a die-hard fan of the craft, or you’re a purist that doesn’t think technology could produce the same type of instrument that a human could, you may not think this one is cool. But in addition to creating replacement parts easier and cheaper than before, this could make musical instruments more accessible, customizable, and beautiful (in their own way).
  • Shoes

    If you were wondering what to wear with that awesome 3D print-embellished shirt from earlier, here’s the perfect accessory: 3D printed shoes. 3D printing makes it easier and cheaper to customize designs, meaning that your weirdly large feet have a home here.
  • Cars

    This isn’t the first 3D printed car, but it is the first one build in one piece from the ground up! It was done on the show floor of International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, and it took an incredible two days just to build the body. Even cooler, the design is open-source.
  • Functional Ceramics

    Besides that precise and intricate look that no ceramic maker would be able to produce by hand, this also was made by a 3D printer specifically designed to produce safe-to-use ceramics. Just a few years ago that was only possible with an industrial-size printer, but the artist who created these ceramic pieces spent 2 years designing a smaller, capable printer.
  • Robots

    We’re not going to make a futuristic list of futuristic printing things without robots! This robot’s body was built entirely by 3D printing, except for the motor. Printing it this way allows for cheaper and stronger parts, and no waste of materials.
  • Beautiful Sugar

    What you see above is the result of sugar, food dye, and creativity – and, of course, a fancy 3D printer. Right now, the 3D Systems ChefJet can make these bright and stunning sugar cubes (or diamonds or balls) in just about any intricate and delicate shape you can imagine.
  • Casts

    Pros: you can scratch that itch, take a shower, and have the coolest looking arm-piece around. Cons: no cool signatures from your friends (or embarrassing drawings that you can’t remove). Seems like a pretty clear choice to us! They also better fight against rashes and infections that you can get with traditional casts.
  • Wood

    You can’t exactly melt wood down and make it into a liquid material, but you can do what the company above did and mix a polymer PLA base with wood dust to get this awesome look. We can think of a ton of awesome applications for wood-based 3D projects, but these glasses would look pretty nice with that embellished shirt and those shoes from earlier. One day you’ll just dress yourself entirely in 3D printed clothes.
  • Prosthetic Covers

    In case the Iron Man look of the prosthetic wasn’t cool enough, now there are incredible looking 3D printed covers for the prosthetics. It allows amputees to inject some style into their look through their prosthetic, and also to use 3D printing because why not?
  • Food

    Chloe Rutzerveld basically took one look at the sugar cubes from earlier and went, “Ew, gross.” (Don’t judge us Chloe). She wanted to make something just as awesome, but much healthier than pure sugar. So she worked with a research team to create what you see above, which is printed dough with seeds hidden throughout. After a few days, the seeds sprout into mushrooms and other herbs and which be eaten!
  • 3D Printing Pens

    By using a filament that hardens quickly, this pen literally allows you to just draw in the air and it keeps its shape as you go. The coolest thing about this project, though, is how much it embodies the spirit of 3D printing – an amazing way for people to create that is trying to be accessible to everyone.
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