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Busy start to the year for 3D printing

20th March 2019

2019 is going to be a huge year for 3D printing as the technology really takes flight. Here Jack Dempsey, 3D printing guru at Box, looks at some of the big moves so far…

Accessible furniture

If you have a disability, you'll know that it can be difficult to find furniture which has been designed to be accessible. The good news is, 3D printing looks set to make life easier.

IKEA Israel has collaborated with Milbat on ThisAbles to create furniture add-ons which can be downloaded and printed at home - for free. It means some of IKEA's furniture can be easily adapted to be more disability-friendly.

The scheme is only in its infancy but, for example, an IKEA sofa can be adapted so that the legs are larger than normal, making it easier to get up from.

Other solutions include an additional piece which can be downloaded and printed which makes it easier to switch a lamp on, a larger-then-usual door handle for easier opening or a handle for a shower curtain.

House building

A Saudi Arabian construction company has bought the biggest construction 3D printer in the world from a Danish manufacturer.

We've blogged about 3D printed houses in the past - and this move just proves it's not science fiction.

Saudi Arabia has plans to build 1.5million new homes in the next 10 years, and 3D printing is going to play a big part in that.

The BOD2 3D printer can print buildings with measurements of 12m in width, 27m in length and 9m in height.

3D printed homes are cheaper and faster to make. Expect to see at least part of homes being created by giant printers in this country before too long.

Operation planning

The SXSW event has just taken place in Texas and star of the show was a world first life-saving kidney operation using 3D printing.

There's a three-year waiting list for a kidney in the UK, so this could be a big deal.

The doctor behind the op explained how there was patient who required a kidney and a father who was willing to donate, but who had a tumour on his kidney.

A 3D printed model was created of the father's kidney, allowing for preoperative planning. The eventual operation was a success.

Saving the planet

You might have noticed that the drive for a greener, more sustainable world has stepped up a notch in the last year. Top of the list for offending items is the single-use coffee cup.

3D printing might be able to change that by using the technology to create a biodegradable alternative from fruit waste. Bananas!

Potholes

If you use roads and you're British, you'll know all about potholes.

They're dangerous, they damage cars, and they're bloody everywhere.

The good news is a new system is being developed which uses drones to identify where the holes are and then an autonomous 3D printer to fill them in. Brilliant!

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