May 6, 2021

10 surprising things you can make with a 3-D printer

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chocolate.jpgBy Lisa Eadicicco from Business Insider

Kickstarter/M3D The Micro 3D Printer

3-D printers have come a long way since the technology initially debuted in the early 1980s.

Like most technologies, today’s 3-D printers have become smaller, cheaper, and more advanced over the past couple of decades.

As 3-D printers have evolved, so have the ways in which we use them.

The concept of using a computer to print everything from the shoes on your feet to tonight’s dinner may sound like science fiction, but affordable 3-D printers have made this a reality.

Platforms such as MakerBot’s Thingiverse, which offers an extensive library of ideas and models for 3-D printing, have helped the technology evolve from a a means of creating bottle openers and trinkets to shaping the way medical equipment and clothing are manufactured.

Here are a few common items that you probably didn’t know were 3-D printable.



Mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor was granted $125,000 from NASA to create a printer that could produce pizza. The goal was to create a more efficient way to provide food for astronauts on long space missions. In a video posted in late 2013, Contractor said the printer works by laying down the dough, cheese, and protein in separate layers.


TechCrunch Disrupt

Harvard Business School graduate Grace Choi created her own mini 3-D printer called the Mink, which is capable of printing real makeup. The Mink, which will retail for $300 and debuted on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, connects to your computer and allows you to choose different colors by ripping the color code from any makeup tutorial on the internet. With a little help from Microsoft Paint, you can print makeup such as eye shadow just like you’d print a document from your computer.


ODD Guitars

Using a Cubify 3-D printer, the team over at ODD Guitars has built a business on 3-D printing premium guitars. The bodies of these guitars are printed using a manufacturing process called Selective Laser Sintering. The model shown here is based on a Les Paul-inspired design, and starts at $3,500. That may sound expensive, but it’s still much cheaper than an actual top-tier Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, which could cost up to $10,000.

Dinosaur fossils


Researchers at Berlin’s Charite Campus Mitte have discovered a way to accurately reproduce dinosaur fossils using a 3-D printer, Gizmag reported last year. The scientists have combined 3-D printing tech with data from computed tomography, a method of examining body organs by scanning them with X-rays and using a computer to construct a series of cross-sectional scans. Through this method, researchers were able to create accurate reproductions without damaging the original fossil.


YouTube/ TEDx Talks

The concept of 3-D printed meat may conjure up unappealing images of mass-produced processed food, but Modern Meadow is flaunting its tech as a more environmentally friendly alternative for the meat industry. The company says its method of creating meat and leather require no animal slaughter and fewer inputs of resources such as land, water, energy, and chemicals.


Solid Concepts

Last year, Solid Concepts produced what it claimed to be the world’s first 3-D-printed metal gun. Unlike the Liberator 3-D printed gun that preceded it, Solid Concepts’ looks a lot more like a traditional firearm. It was able to successfully fire 50 rounds upon its unveiling.



While those interested in 3-D printing are probably more familiar with smaller household objects, the technology is being used to build full-size homes around the world. For example, China’s WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. has used a 3-D printer capable of printing 10 homes in 24 hours from recycled materials.


Nervous System

Design studio Nervous System has figured out how to produce gold using a 3-D printer, according to 3-D printing news blog 3D Printing Industry. The company uses a direct metal laser sintering technology that’s specifically tailored to creating objects with precise patterns such as jewelry.



Ignacio Garcia of Spanish 3-D-printing firm Recreus has created 3-D printed shoes known as the Sneakerbot II, as Dezeen reported. The sneakers are made using the company’s Filaflex material, which forms a rubbery waterproof filament that can retain its shape after being scrunched up. This means you can fold them up and stuff them in your pocket or purse when you need to save some space. The shoes can be printed using a MakerBot 3-D printer.


Choc Edge

Chocolate, like pizza and meat, is one of several foods that can be made using a 3-D printer. In fact, Hershey’s announced in January that it’s developing a 3-D printer for making chocolate, according to CNN Money. There are plenty of companies that specialize in 3-D printing chocolate today such as Choc Edge, which sells printers specifically for that purpose.

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