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8 things you didn't know about 3D printing

posted 07 January 2015 at 16:34:27

1. It's actually been around for more than 30 years. American Charles Hull invented stereolithography – the system for generating 3D objects – in 1983.  

 2. You can 3D print in a multitude of materials, from thermoplastics, resins and wood derivatives to gold, silver, bronze, brass, titanium, stainless steel, wax, powder, ceramics, chocolate and even human tissue.  

3. NASA is investing large sums of money in developing a 3D printer that will allow astronauts to 3D print their own food in space.  

4. Doctors can now 3D print replacement bones and even incredibly realistic artificial eyes for accident victims.  

5. James Bond's priceless Aston Martin DB5, which was blown up in Skyfall, was actually a 1:3 scale 3D printed model. It was printed in 18 parts and put together much like a real car.  

6. Used in conjunction with a CAT scanner, a 3D printer has been used to print out a highly detailed model of a tumour before an operation, so that surgeons could properly examine it before operating on the patient.  

7. Researchers at Washington State University, along with NASA, are experimenting in 3D printing with Moon dust. If successful, it could pave the way for entire Moon bases to be 3D printed in situ in the future.  

8. The Photonic Professional 3D printer can print objects that are as narrow as a strand of human hair. It will be used in the printing of micro and nano structures.