Thursday, 21 February 2013

Top ten things to print in 3D

It's only recently that I heard about 3D printing.  I'm still struggling to come to terms with how a fax machine works, so today's news that a human ear was created on a 3D printer is amazing!

I have no idea how they work.  I'm not going to spend a lot of time wondering about that, but I am good at coming up with ideas on how to use stuff.  So, here are the ten things that would be handy to just print out.

10.  A baby!  Imagine being able to just print one out, instead of going through pregnancy and labour.  (The television show "The Midwives" is on in the background, so I'm obviously very easily influenced.)

9.  Dinner!  Cooking shows like "Masterchef" would be completely different and even less interesting - a bunch of computer programmers sitting around writing code is only marginally less interesting than watching other people eat.

8.  George Clooney.

7.  A public transport system and ticketing system that works and makes sense!

6. A few gold bars for pin money.

5. A clean water supply for those parts of the world that don't have one.

4.  Black caviar (the delicacy)

3.  Black Caviar (the racehorse)

2. A new planet, so we have somewhere to go when we've ruined this one.

1.  A rocket ship to get there!

Oh, and a pet tiger.

What would you print on your 3D printer?


  1. I'm sorry we didn't get to discuss over brunch, 3D printing really is as mystifying as you suggest - I did my PhD on using 3D printing and computer simulation to make metal tools (dies) to make small runs of products. In the 10+ years since then I have printed about 3 things in my career - one of which was incredibly useful as I had designed it to 'look right' on the screen, but when I printed it, it was no where near right.

    The modern cheap ones work like a cake-icing tube, so you have to have something to make something. i.e. mashed-up george clooney to make george clooney. But I believe in the future there will be ways to build from more fundamental building blocks.

    I like your idea of dinner - it would only be the shaping and texture of the dinner, but it sounds very heston blumenthal.

    Things I have thought to make on a 3D printer:

    >a replacement cupboard door-knob matched to the ones that are not broken.
    >a custom shaped shelf to fit just where I want it.
    >a button to replace the one on the stereo which is smashed in.
    >prototypes of ideas that I have.

    You have to remember that you need a computer model to make something, you don't really have to be a programmer, just have skills with 3D. Google has a free 3D CAD package, called sketchup, but I find it painful to use.


  2. What's the point if I need to have George Clooney first and then mash him up so I can print him out? The whole exercise seems a bit redundant. Your list of things to print is very practical and sounds like it can replace regular trips to the hardware store. How about we print a 3D printer and share it?

  3. Here is an article exploring the printing of food - not my cup of tea, but sounds like the next molecular gastronomy...