Credit: Creative Tools
In recent years, people are finding more uses for 3D printing; especially big companies and brands with the money to invest in excelling this incredible technology. From parts for spaceships, to facial expressions for stop animation characters; companies and consumers alike are really starting to understand the true potential that 3D printing possesses. 3D printers are nothing new (they have in fact been around from the 1990s), but in the last few years massive progression has been made concerning what materials can be utilised. With this in mind, big brands are embracing the technology in great ways and here are five great examples.
As of late, Disney has been looking into seeing how they can incorporate the process of 3D printing into making toys. A paper entitled ‘Printed Optics: 3D Printing of Embedded Optical Elements for Interactive Devices’ was published by top Disney researchers which investigates techniques of using lights in toys and different assembly practices.
Stop motion has been around for just over a century now, evolving through time in different ways using different techniques and materials. Now, UK production houses Aardman and Laika have been drawing on the use of 3D printers for their films; most recently Coraline, Pirates! and ParaNorman. For Coraline in 2009, the lead character was printed a mixture of different faces and expressions which gave way to 200,000. However the 2012 film ParaNorman, the lead character churned out 1.5 million facial expressions; which gives an indication as to the advancements made within the 3D printing industry.
For the last couple of years, Airbus has been looking into ways that they can benefit from 3D printing. Airbus are investigating a new type of plane, a ‘plane of the people’ – offering customers an experience of flying that in comfortable, enjoyable and memorable – not like most commercial jets in the current day. Why 3D printing though? Component parts will be cheaper, lighter – and the shapes of them would be horrendously difficult to construct in other ways. Here is a concept video for the marvellous Airbus craft from the future.
Now this is really something from the future. Recently SpiderFab project received a sum of money to investigate the potential of spacecrafts being fully constructed out in space with the use of 3D printing. This may seem as alien as the holodeck in Star Trek at the moment, but it easily could be a reality one day. One day perhaps all that would happen would be astronauts launching into space armed with a 3D printer and raw materials in effort to save space in the rocket; simply printing out what they needed while positioned in the great unknown.
Hiro o Ladies
Not so much a main brand, but this is a great example of how companies all over the world are seeing how they can incorporate 3D printing into their business. Straight out of Japan…presenting ‘Shape of an Angel’. Shape of an Angel, known as Tenshi no Katachi in the native tongue, uses 3D printing to create a resin-cast floating foetus of your baby in the womb! Wow. Just wow. Take a ganders at this video for full details.
As you can see from all of these examples, 3D printing is penetrating the business world in the most fascinating ways. With these big brand names demonstrating to the rest of the world the advantages of 3D printing, it will not be long until its common practice to use 3D printers on an everyday basis; corporation and consumer alike.
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