The list of strange things that 3D printers can create includes miniature clones of humans, race cars, string bikinis and even sex toys. There’s no saying what tomorrow will hold for 3D printing, either, but here are some of the strangest creation that already exist.
You’re not alone if it never occurred to you that 3D printers could be used to print up a tasty snack, but more than one person has had this idea. That’s why 3D printers have been used to bake up everything from colorful, crystalline sugar candy, shaped chocolates and even ice cream. The latter is the result of a group project undertaken by three MIT students who combined a 3D printer, Cuisinart ice cream and liquid nitrogen to product tasty, frozen soft serve in custom shapes. Practical? Maybe not. Interesting? Sure!
You may not trust a house created by a 3D printer, but this hasn’t stopped one Chinese construction company from envisioning a setup that can build 10 single-story houses in a day. It’s faster and cheaper than traditional construction. Buildings created in this manner typically use concrete, which is affordable and relatively easy to work with. However, one unusual project printed igloo-like structures with sea salt, which is readily available and environmentally-conscientious. Jason Hope commented on this ingenious idea, “It might not be foolproof, but this sort of thinking outside the box can lead to the end of the housing shortage.”
In March 2013, one Texas professor took his love for guns to a whole new level when he used a 3D printer to replicated a
functional gun. In fact, this has gun control proponents at unease because the weapons could become so easily available. For the most part, guns created with 3D printers and plastic aren’t a real threat because they’re not reusable or easily modified. However, advancements in 3D printing technology could change this.
The ages-old debate about acoustic versus electric instruments rages on, but now it has a new contender. 3D printers make it possible to create guitars and even violins out of materials such as plastic and paper mache. It certainly puts elementary school art projects to shame. Atom is a gorgeous 3D printed guitar that retails for a staggering $3500 from New Zealand’s Odd Guitars. The same company sells a slightly-cheaper $3,000 guitar known as Spider.
Thanks to 3D printing, you can pick up radio signals that the regular human can’t hear. The so-called bionic ear created at Princeton hasn’t yet been attached to a human being, but it’s only a matter of time. One Japanese company even allows consumers to created 3D replicas of their unborn fetus from the ultrasound imagery. In one case, a man’s fractured skull was able to be repaired with 3D printing, which successfully replaced 75% of the skull with plastic. Even human stem cells can be printed thanks to this technology. With 3D printers, even human hair can be recreated to cover up that newly-fixed skull!