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10 Real 3D Printing Projects

An Ear

So the next step from a lamp is obviously a human body part. Right?

Okay maybe not, but this is another arena researchers are looking at for three-dimensional printing. The idea is that, like an AutoCAD drawing, we can know and model our body parts, right down to that adorable little crimp in your earlobe..

“One thing that’s been happening in the last few years is that people are trying to expand the range of materials that can be used in a 3D printer,” says Hod Lipson of Cornell University. “What we’ve been looking at, along with a number of other groups, is that instead of printing in plastic, you could print in biological material to make three dimensional tissue constructs.”

The ear is a great place to start with such an endeavor. As far as parts of the body goes, it’s pretty utilitarian, simply functioning as a sound-catching dish of cartilage. It has no organ function.

Whether we could some day print a new lung or—gulp—brain remains to be seen.

  • mister g
    How many here saw the picture next to the link and clicked it? Not trying to be sexist but honestly how many?
  • Tomsguiderachel
    mister gHow many here saw the picture next to the link and clicked it? Not trying to be sexist but honestly how many?Hi There, glad I got you to click. The bikini is a design to be printed on a 3D printer. Amazing, right? I'm sure that's why the organization behind the technology put up a youtube video about the bikini, specifically. Whatever it takes to get people interested in new tech!

    Rachel Rosmarin
    Managing Editor, Tom's Guide
  • mister g
    At least this page allows comments, unlike in Tom's Style. I also think 3-d printing is pretty cool, but I got to this page from a little box on Toms Hardware showing articles from sister sites. Keep up the good work though!
  • CaedenV
    Man 3D printing has come such a long way! Growing up my dad worked for a recently bankrupt 3D scanning company (great product, poor managers). He would bring home different busts and objects that they messed with on the computer and 'printed' with various types of 3D printers. The best I saw at the time was a mill that actually whittled down a block of wood or styrofoam. The worst were the old level-by-level printers that showed obvious lines between the tiers. But nothing was nearly so smooth and seamless as many of these examples.
  • distanted
    I came for the altoid bikini, I stayed for the bone replacement project...that is simply amazing. The plane design concept is pretty cool, too. Hopefully their bikini project turns out better than my Mentos bikini and diet coke pool concept.
  • nickallen1984
    For more info about 3D printing and see if you can get something printed for free have a look at - it is a very helpful and friendly site with masses of great info! They were really helpful with my project!
  • mrmaia
    3d Printing is home industry! Can't wait to see how it will develop over time.
  • back_by_demand
    So that's how they made Leeloo Dallas!
  • DSpider
    back_by_demandSo that's how they made Leeloo Dallas!Fifth Element.

  • JonnyDough
    The chocolate is pretty precise, but it seems as though it could get much more detailed and accurate. Perhaps they need to print it using more viscous (runny) "ink" and apply less at a time.