Reprappro-huxley-full-huxley-print+text-lo-res[1]3D printers are able to make virtually any solid three-dimensional object from a digital model. 3D printers are able to create these objects using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. The 3D printers gained a lot of attention when a layout for printing a handgun was introduced and made easily available for download. You could print your very own gun, in the comfort of your own home. Of course this sparked controversy with the anti-gun advocates, and it wasn’t long before there were cries for government to step in and control the situation with these easily printable weapons.

Using 3D printers and schematics, which are free and generously available on the Internet, gun owners can manufacture their own fully functional, plastic magazine clip, or hand gun. This technology enables citizens to bypass unjust gun control laws, download and print their own items at home. This will likely complicate state efforts to control firearms.

The popularity and interest with 3D printers is increasing, and ideas for various item layouts becoming more diverse. A Dutch architecture studio, Universe Architecture, is planning to be the first to fully construct a house with a 3D printer. The house is estimated to take around 18 months to complete, and is being built by a team along with mathematician and artist Rinus Roelofs. Another man is building a 3D printed Aston Martin, consisting of roughly 2,500 pieces to use as plugs for fiberglass molds. These are the basis on which the fiberglass is formed. Perhaps your next pair of shoes will be printed? Shoe manufacturers are starting to adopt 3-D printing within the industry. They are currently working on methods that will allow them to personalize soles, from a series of 3-D scans.

Shower rings? Phone cases? Watering Spouts?  Whatever products you might create on your 3D printer as an alternative to purchasing those products, researchers at Michigan Technological University have determined that after only one years’ time, you will most likely have paid for the 3D printer in money saved alone. 3D printers run anywhere from $600-$3000. However, the capabilities of these machines appears to be endless and thoroughly promising. Impressively enough 3D printers have even been able to print liver-like cells. 3D printers have been successful in creating functional human tissue that replicates human biology better than what has ever come before.

Are There Any Downside ?

Recently, researchers, who have published their work in the journal Atmospheric Environment, say that inhaling a high amount of these particles from 3D printers, has been associated with adverse health conditions, such as asthma and cardiorespiratory illnesses. Studies have also linked elevated ultrafine particle (UFP) concentrations with increased hospital admissions for stroke. The rates the 3D printers emitted were similar to those of using a gas or electric stove, or burning a scented candle. The researches concluded that caution should be used when operating 3D printers in unvented or inadequately filtered indoor environments, adding:

“More controlled experiments should be conducted to evaluate aerosol emissions from a wider arrange of desktop 3D printers and feedstocks.”

What will they print next?