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The 10 Strangest 3D Printed Objects (So Far)

1. Mouse ovaries

Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago created the first artificial mouse ovaries using a 3D printer. Ovaries aren’t the first thing you’d expect to be 3D printed, right? The mouse ovaries were created by 3D printing layers of gelatin. Then they were surgically implanted in seven infertile mice. Of the seven mice that received implants, three mice successfully gave birth to litters of pups. There are human implications to this discovery, of course. The researchers hope that someday, they’ll be able to print artificial human ovaries for cancer patients and others who are infertile.

2. Food

Speaking of mice: researchers at University College, Cork in Ireland 3D-printed objects using cheese. They filled a 3D printer nozzle with Easy Cheese and printed “cheesy” designs with it, including a small bear. The designs were mostly flat because aerosol cheese isn’t the most stable printing substance. There are other types of foods that have been 3D printed, too, one of the most famous being 3D printed was chocolate. If you think that chocolate rabbits are neat, you should see some of the nifty chocolate designs that have been made with 3D printers. Chocolate makes for a great 3D printing substance because it can be layered while it’s melted then easily hardened. There are several companies that sell 3D-printed chocolate, including chocolate behemoth Hershey .They’ve also 3D-printed pizza. A printer was equipped with three nozzles that dispensed liquid dough, tomato sauce, and cheese. In under five minutes, the pizza dough was ready for baking. Researchers said they were able to accurately control the crispiness of the bread thanks to the 3D printer. Some other cool foods that have been 3D-printed: quiches, croutons, candies, and cereal. So what’s on the horizon for 3D-printed food? For one, restaurants and bakeries will be able to print large quantities of stylized foods and pastries. But the hope is that people will be able to prepare food in their own homes without having to cook. Very futuristic, indeed. “Computer...Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.”

3. Skin

Researchers at the University of Toronto created a handheld 3D printer that could apply skin cells on a pig. The pig had its cells harvested, and the cells were grown to a larger quantity. Once researchers had enough cells, they used the cells as the printing substance. The 3D printer was rolled over the pig’s wound “like a white-out tape dispenser.” Success! The skin cells successfully attached to the open wound area. Scientists think that in the future, this technology could be used to replace skin grafts. It would make it much easier to treat victims with open wounds, especially burn victims. The science of printing living tissues is known as bioprinting. Researchers have printed artificial bone, artificial blood vessels, and artificial bladders. Scientists are hoping they’ll be able to finally end the long and sometimes fatal wait for organ transplants.

4. Bikini

Textiles are notoriously difficult to print, but a company called Continuum Fashion has created a number of cool 3D-printed fashion items. Their standout fashion piece is the 3D-printed bikini. You can hit the beach and go swimming in style and comfort. Continuum printed the bikini using a material called Nylon 12, which is strong, flexible, and waterproof. The bikini has an awesome texture, too. It’s composed entirely of interconnected beads, a testament to the intricate kinds of designs that can be printed.The company also produces a line of 3D-printed women’s shoes.

5. Mini Power Drill

You’ve got to see it to believe it. A man in New Zealand created the world’s smallest power drill with a 3D printer. The drill measures 17 x 7.5 x 13 mm, and is equipped with a 0.5 mm drill bit. And it works! The drill is powered by a hearing aid battery and utilizes a miniature motor and headphone cable wiring.

6. Microscopic Race Car

There’s a bizarre creation courtesy of researchers at the Vienna University of Technology. They created a 3D printer that can create near microscopic objects. To demonstrate its abilities, the researchers printed a tiny race car that’s just about the width of a hair follicle.

7. Wall Climbing Robot

South Korean scientists used a 3D printer to build a robot that can climb walls. The robot mimics the movement of a gecko and is capable of climbing up vertical walls with the help of adhesion pads. The robot’s body was 3D-printed using a material called Polyamide 12.Another cool robot was 3D-printed at the University of California, San Diego. This robot has three legs and can navigate rough terrain, like sand and rocks. 3D printing was integral in building the robot. In order to crawl over rough terrain, the robot needed to be constructed of softer, more flexible materials than what most robots are made of. The researchers were able to 3D-print the robot’s soft and hard surfaces together.

8. Unborn babies

Thanks to 3D printing, expectant parents can hold their baby before it pops out of the womb. A Russia based company uses ultrasound scans to create a 3D-printed model of the unborn child. In actuality, the models aren’t made to be baby shower gifts. They help doctors evaluate the health of the developing child. The models are a bit surreal. They’re highly detailed and capture the smallest facial features of the unborn baby. Imagine the comedic possibilities of using an unborn baby model at a gender reveal party.

9. Buildings

How on earth can a 3D printer construct something so gigantic? Concrete is the main substance that’s used by a 3D printer to print a home. A crane lifts the printer nozzle above the ground and maneuvers the nozzle as it places layers of concrete. Some 3D printers can also layer insulation materials. Most 3D-printed buildings don’t adhere to building codes, so they’re either built as temporary structures or they’re built very small. But construction firms are optimistic that they’ll be able to build more advanced structures as the technology progresses.

10. 3D printer

That’s right: a 3D printer has printed a 3D printer. You can’t print a 3D printer in its entirety, but people have printed all of its individual parts, and then they’ve manually assembled them.

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