When the Urbee renewable energy car went on display in Winnipeg this month, the fact a life-sized model was produced on the spot using 3D printing caused almost as much interest as the capsule-shaped car.
No, it wasn’t a hologram or model printed out of paper. The Urbee was built onsite by putting its cad software design into a 3D printer which printed out layers of materials to form the car’s outer shell. Only the shell was 3D printed - not the hundreds of other pieces needed to construct a complete car - but Urbee’s makers hope more parts can be printed in the future using only recycled materials.
3D printing, which is technically called “additive manufacturing,” has been used for years to make small prototypes. But this really neat tech process could soon revolutionize some types of manufacturing by changing how things are made. With the right materials onside, shipping could be eliminated by creating products where they’re sold, printing out however many are needed on any given day. Talk about just-in-time-inventory!
3D printing might also be used for medical applications such as implants, artificial limbs and replicating body parts like bones.
Learn more about 3D printing through the YouTube videos and stories below. The wrench video is very cool because it shows 3D printing can also be used like a photocopier of objects. A wrench is scanned and its physical specifications analyzed by a computer. The “print” button is clicked and voila – a real, workable wrench comes out of the printer!