Why buy your jewellery when you can print it?

Why buy your jewellery when you can print it?

Where 3D printing has been used extensively for manufacturing, it is slowly but surely making its way into other industries. Printed bikinis, guitars and cars have all been showcased in recent months and now you can add jewellery to that list.

Not chunky plastic necklaces or earrings, oh no. Cookson Precious Metals have created 3D printed jewellery made from, surprise surprise, precious metals.

One of the advantages of making jewellery using 3D printing is the complete lack of waste.

For example, instead of melting metal down for earrings, shaping it and then filing off any rough edges or imperfections, the earrings are built up on the 3D printer layer by layer using an 'already prefect' computer design.

The process is also much faster than hand-making intricate items of jewellery. As time is money, this process greatly reduces production cost.

The technology is still relatively new so buying 3D printed jewellery may be more expensive than 'regular' jewellery now, but who knows, you could be designing and printing your own jewellery in a few years' time!

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Bizarre uses for 3D printing

Bizarre uses for 3D printing

Since 3D printing became more mainstream, there has been an influx of weird uses of the technology.

We scoured the internet for some of the best.

1. 3D foetus. If you just can't wait to see your unborn child, why not have a life-size replica 3D printed from your ultrasound? (Because it's creepy, that's why).

2. Your own head. A Japanese manufacturer – CloneFactory - can 3D print a tiny version of your own head. This can then be attached to a tiny doll, and voila, you have a mini-you.

3. A sandwich in the shape of a shoe. No, they didn't actually print the sandwich – we're not quite there yet. An American man designed a shoe-shaped baking mould, 3D printed it, filled it with dough and baked a shoe loaf. He then used the bottom of the mould to cut out sandwich ingredients in the shape of the shoe bread and made a shoe sandwich.

4. Swimwear. Continuum Fashions has printed a bikini. That's right. You can now wear something that comes out of a printer... whether it will stay together in the pool is another matter.

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Engineers create first 3D printed car

Engineers create first 3D printed car

A team of super nerds/Belgium engineering students has created a 3D printed car.

Let's face it, it was only a matter of time before some tech geeks/geniuses used this latest printing innovation to build something like this. Oh, and did we mention that it is fully functional and can reach speeds of up to 88 mph?

Created for the Formula Student Challenge, the vehicle students designed had to be a non-professional weekend autocross or sprint racer for a niche sales market that will be part of a viable business model.

The car is not completely made from printed parts, but the entire body was created on a 3D printer.

Underneath the printed body, an 85 kW motor drawing power from 50-volt lithium polymer batteries sends the Areion from zero to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds with a top speed of 88 mph.

Inside is an electric drivetrain made from bio-composite materials, and a bio-composite race seat that brings the total weight to 617 pounds. A double-A carbon wishbone suspension system with titanium uprights keeps the steering tight.
So basically, they printed the outside and it is run off a really big battery.

The team behind the car, Formula Group T, consists of 16 International University College Leuven engineering students.
Working with Materialise, a 3D printing specialist company, they used 'stereolithography techniques' – a massive 3D printer that printed the entire car body in one go. The huge printer constructs something by layering a liquid polymer that hardens when it is struck by a laser beam.

Each time, the laser printed layers are lowered together with the vessel's resin level.

Afterwards, a small reservoir moves over the vessel and disposes a film of liquid polymer onto the whole vessel. This curtain recoating technology needs less time between layers than the traditional stereolithography technology which uses a scraper.

Although it will definitely be some time until we see entire, whole, fully function cars roll off the back of a printer, this latest technological achievement could well be a glimpse into what the future of sustainable motor cars looks like.

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Fancy a robot? Print your own...

Fancy a robot? Print your own...

A US-based project aims to make it possible for people to print robots on demand before the end of the decade. 

Researchers from three universities have secured funding to pursue the initiative that would see them build desktop technology that would allow almost anyone to design and print a specialised robot in just a few hours. 

The initiative is being funded by a $10 million (£6.3 million) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

The five-year project involves teams from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. 

Virginia-based NSF said the move was part of an effort to "catalyse far-reaching research explorations motivated by deep scientific questions". 

Currently, it takes years and resources to produce, program and design a functioning robot. 

The printed robots would be 'pre-programmed' with certain tasks but users would be able to add more actions by programming additional commands, sent wirelessly to the robot. 

The new initiative, which would "completely automate" the printing process, is the latest stage in the development of 3D printing.


Speaking to the BBC, Professor Rob Wood from Harvard University said: "We think of printing as a broad class of techniques which are inherently accessible and relatively cheap. 

"3D printers are becoming more accessible but we want to go beyond that to create robots that encompass multiple functionalities, that have electrical and mechanical components, controllers and microprocessors. That's something that goes beyond today's state-of-the-art printers."


He said the research project could be used as a blueprint for future developments – envisaging 'one-stop-shop' machines that can print out a robot at home for less than $100. 

Sounds interesting, huh? We certainly think so...

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