3D printing technology is more than the wave of the future; it is already making tsunamis in the present day. People with a vested interest in legislation dealing with firearms management (more popularly known as the “gun control laws”) may have been following the recent debate about whether or not plans for 3D printed guns should be made freely available online. If you need an update on that story, or have yet to hear about it, check out this page.
But even if they are just another thing to argue about, 3D printing mechanisms are also one awesome way to turn the impossible into the possible – and epic. These two amazing projects are perfect examples of the 3D print positives, and are guaranteed to make your jaw drop.
Touring London with a twist – there be dragons
Have you ever seen one of those weird medieval maps, or their commercial replicas, and spotted a writhing fiend near the edge of the parchment accompanied by the statement: “Here Be Dragons”? It was a way to mark unexplored and potentially dangerous territory, but nowadays dragons are also the mark of The Great Pagoda at Kew Botanical Gardens in London.
The Great Pagoda was a gift for Princess Augusta, who founded the Gardens, and was designed by Sir William Chambers in1762. It is an octagonal tower standing at an impressive height of ten stories. Using 3D printing technology, it has recently been restored, and the seventy two dragons which had been missing for over two hundred and thirty years are now back in their rightful place, fascinating visitors and scaring ghosts away.
The originals were wooden, set up at each tower corner along all of the ten floors, but they were removed for a roof repair, and never returned. After printing, the dragons were painted by hand to restore the original appearance, albeit far lighter and far more durable. The new mythical beasts have been created at the initiative of the Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity that is contracted to manage unoccupied royal palaces on behalf of the Queen.
Underwater jetpacks have blasted their way onstage
After fiery dragons, the 3D printing service in UK has taken on water creatures as well. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the 21 year old Archie O’Brien, a student at the University of Loughborough, it would appear that even mermaids have found their way from the dusty pages of old fairy tales books into the spotlight of the twenty first century. Well, admittedly, Mr. O’Brien was more inspired by the awesomeness of “feeling like James Bond” than the graceful underwater maidens.
Nonetheless, he put his inventive mind to work and designed a jetpack for use under water. Properly, it is the “CUDA 3D printed water propeller”, but since you wear it on your back, there is no way the Netizens will call it anything other than “underwater jetpack.”
According to the results of extensive testing in real-life use situations, assembling the device is simple and takes no more than ten minutes. It features a harness, which keeps it steady under a 90 degrees angle from the diver, and you can set the speed you want by using a manual trigger system. Its aesthetic design has also been carefully considered, since the young creator stated that he “wants this to be something so cool that you’re wearing it when you’re not even using it.”
After several months of research and hard work, Mr. O’Brien presented his CUDA invention as a university project and won a grant on account of it. It is expected that the device will be available for sale sometime in the first quarter of 2019, with an estimated price of $6,000 per piece.
While it may come with its fair share of concerns, both legal and otherwise, 3D printing technology is improving our world by leaps and bounds. Not only is it steadily advancing into the worlds of medicine, engineering, and architecture, such as with printing prosthetic limbs, machinery components, and natural disaster resistant home solutions, it is obviously starting to find a place in the realms of culture and leisure as well.
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