3D printing is a type of rapid prototyping technology that enables short-run production to produce custom-made and on demand products for customers faster than ever before. It has revolutionized the prototyping industry, allowing prototypes to be created at a blisteringly quick pace. It has now progressed to the stage where consumer products and devices created from 3D printing are now replacing their traditional counterparts in the marketplace. Bicycle frames, jelly candies and much more can now be made from sustainable materials and on-demand through 3D printing, giving these products significant advantage over their competitors.
On-demand ordering also means there is zero waste for production companies, there is no warehousing needed and distribution is simplified and the products are just travelling from A to B. All of these advantages are obviously very attractive to companies, which is why there has been such an influx of 3D printed products on the market. Here we will go through some of the best options (in our humble opinion!) that are available:
Last year, Chanel created the 3D printed Volume Révolution mascara brush, which is widely considered to be the only 3D printed make-up brush in the world. This specific brush was created using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and up to 50,000 units were produced every day.
Microcavities were formed in the core of the brush due to 3D printing which allowed the brush to hold much more mascara than its competitors. Another advantage of this brush was that the individual strands featured a granular texture, this increased the surface area of the strands and meant that more mascara could stick to eyelashes.
Adidas partnered with Carbon to produce running shoes that featured a midsole created from 3D printing. These were called the Futurecraft 4D, and later the AlphaEDGE 4D LTD running shoes also featured the same midsole developed using Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) technology.
The midsoles are made from polyurethane and UV-curable resin mixture, formed in complicated lattice structures. A limited amount of Futurecraft 4D were made for $300, and a further 5,00 pairs were produced at a later date. Second-hand prices for these sneakers reached up to $20,000 at one stage! A new release, the Y-3 4D Runner, also in collaboration with Carbon features the 3D printed midsole.
A London-based 3D printing service began their collaboration with Paperchase by creating a collection of biodegradable pen pots, ballpoint pens, and paperclips. This stationary is made from bioplastic and 30,000 pieces of stationary were produced within two months of manufacture! 3D printers were used to form the parts and an Epilog Laser to engrave some text onto the items. All of the products are very affordable and are a more sustainable option for your stationery needs!
3D Printed Eyewear
New glasses with a 3D printed frame came out recently from a company called MOREL. There are three different models created using 3D printing, and they are all made from a polyamide-based nylon and SLS. The arms are created from a titanium alloy called beta-titanium. This is a material that is very commonly used in orthodontics!
They “make sound out of sand” to use their own words. DEEPTIME have created a set of speakers that are 3D printed out of sand, pretty cool I must say! All of the enclosure have been made out of a single piece due to Binder Jetting technology. This gives a smooth, organic looking shape with no seam, joints, or lines in general.
3D Printed Dental Aligners
Typical fixed braces generally used to straighten teeth over the last 150-200 years, are made up of metal wires and/or brackets that are unsightly and sometimes uncomfortable. They can also only be removed by dental professionals, meaning they cannot be taken out at any point, even for a short amount of time.
3D printing now allows for customization at a very high level and from this invisible, removable, dental aligners have been created. Collaboration between the laboratory and dentist results in these clear, custom aligners being printed from 3D CAD models. The customers then receive a quality, and perfectly precise product that will give them the results they desire. More on the process of thermoforming these dental aligners can be found in the link below:
In your opinion, what is the best and most innovative product available now that is made through 3D printing? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. See you soon!