What would you make if you had a machine that could make anything?
In England a technician scans the feet and ankles of Olympic sprinters and puts the data into a computer. The computer does a few quick calculations. The technician 3D prints new track shoes that are customized for each athlete’s unique body shape and weight, gait and tastes.
On the other side of the world, NASA test-drives a version of its Mars Rover in the Arizona desert. On board the Rover are several custom-made 3D printed metal parts. Many of these parts have complicated shapes made of curves and inner hollows that could not have been manufactured by anything other than a 3D printer.
In Japan, an expectant mother wants to create the ultimate commemoration of her first ultrasound. Her doctor edits her ultrasound image and 3D prints a precise, highly detailed replica of the fetus. The result, an avant-garde 3D printed plastic tribute to the tiny fetus, encased for posterity in a block of hard transparent plastic.
These modest manufacturing miracles are already taking place. In the not-so-distant future, people will 3D print living tissue, nutritionally calibrated food, and ready-made, fully assembled electronic components. This book is about a new way of making things. In the following chapters, we explain 3D printing technologies and design tools in simple language. For readers of a technical bent, a few chapters delve deeper into the details of 3D printing’s ...