3D printing doesn’t screw around – Jack England hammers out some potential prints.
Recently, NASA sent a spanner to the International Space Station, but no rockets or spaceships were involved. A digital blueprint of the spanner was e-mailed to the station, and they simply printed it. This technology isn’t just for international science corporations or the mega-rich though, you can grab yourself one of these beauties for about $500; but if you had one, what would you ask it to build?
I hardly ever use pens, because my laptop or tablet is just as good for writing essays or taking notes in class. But as soon as exam season comes around it’s a mad dash to try and find a pen that works and, as soon as exam season is over, I’ll never see those pens again. This wouldn’t be a problem with a 3D printer though! Just set it to build me a couple of pens overnight before the exam and hey-presto! I’m all prepared to ace that test!
So you’re having a cheeky party mid-week and more and more people are turning up at your door. You can’t leave, you’re a good host! But you’re running low on wine glasses and the masses are demanding a drink. So what do you do? With a 3D printer, it’s simple! Build me 100 cups please Mr. Printer and soon enough everyone will have a ‘wine glass’ of their own – they could even take it home with them! Who cares, you can just make more! 3D printed wine glasses are even better too, as 3D printers only use plastic, there’s no fear of broken glass when that one friend gets a little bit too tipsy.
Maybe you’re a fresher who wants to start fitting out their accommodation after the Christmas break, or you’re a third year who just wants a change from that usual living room look – the 3D printer has got your back. Just download the blueprint (or make your own if you can) for any style of chair, table, cupboard, wardrobe, bed, and it’ll be yours!
For the musical ones amongst us, it’s possible to print your own instruments in your own home. A basic keyboard will set you back £100, which may seem like a cheaper option, but once you’ve printed five of them (for your all-keyboard band of course) you’ve actually saved money! You don’t even have to go outside and carry it home either!
Okay, a little bit more serious now, but still as cool. The majority of us are lucky enough to have all our limbs and have them working perfectly, for those that don’t, prosthetic limbs can be incredibly expensive. In the US, a prosthetic hand can cost up to $20,000 and then, if you’re still growing, that’s $20,000 each time it needs replacing. However, one man from Massachusetts found a way round this. He bought himself a second-hand 3D printer for a fraction of the price and prints his son’s prosthetics himself each time he needs a new one. The cost of the plastic is minimal and it means his son can have the childhood he deserves. If that doesn’t make you want a 3D printer, I don’t know what will.
5: Phone cases
We all have that one friend who has a different phone case every single time you see them. We’ve also all seen those shady looking guys in their vans selling phone cases. You don’t want your friend putting themselves in danger buying from those guys do you? Of course not! So why not print your own phone cases and sell them to your friends yourself? Before you know it, you’ll have made back the money you spent on the 3D printer and a booming business for your CV.
I still love playing with LEGO once in a while, and for those who are a child at heart like me, you know how expensive it is. £20 for a ten piece LEGO set? No thank you. However, with a 3D printer, I can print my own LEGO and build whatever my heart desires. In fact, I could print enough LEGO for everyone, and in the future when everyone has a 3D printer in their home, parents will save thousands of pounds printing off childhood toys rather than going out and buying them.
Being male, I stereotypically do not know much about shoes; however I do know that high heels break. A lot. But imagine this, instead of heading out into town to search for the perfect shoes, you can just look online, find the perfect pair, and print them off for less than a fiver. Sounds too good to be true right? Not anymore.
2: A Castle
It sounds a bit strange right? Printing a castle? Well, one man from Minnesota has done just this (although he cheated and used a 3D printer that prints concrete not plastic). Soon enough, all of the construction industry will be using 3D printers to build housing in order to reduce cost, but why not get in there before the crowd? Find a small plot of public land (or if you can afford it, buy a plot) and print your own house from a few sheets of plastic and a $500 printer. I’m not saying that it’ll survive the night or that it’ll be a nice place to live, but with £30,000+ in university debts on your shoulders, you can’t complain can you?
1: Another 3D Printer
If you found a genie in a bottle, what would be your first wish? More wishes, right? Well, a 3D printer is as close to a genie as you’re going to get, so why not make more? I don’t know what you would do with multiple 3D printers, but I’m sure you can find something to do. Build nine and you can have everything on this list being printed at once, plus another 3D printer to sell to your friends; the potential is limitless.