We've heard the stories about the life-saving organs created by 3D printers. We've shed a tear reading about prosthetic limbs produced to help amputees, marveled at the houses built by 3D printers and sat in awe as we read about NASA's zero-gravity printer.
Let's not forget 3D printing's dark side, capable of producing dozens of weird, wonderful and even dangerous products.
Join us for a wild ride filled with a list of strange products printers can produce. Parental discretion is advised.
1) Sex Toys
|Image from Textually|
SexShop 3D allows owners of 3D printers to create dildos, plugs or vibrators at any size for only $5. As usual free alternatives exist, and Markerlove are more than happy to push the boundaries of the open-source community.
It's not only male body parts that are being printed.
This Motherboard article claims that a 26-year old teacher from New York felt a sense of empowerment after scanning and printing her own vagina.
In related events, a Japanese artist also scanned her vagina, but she used the data to 3D print a boat.
What an exciting time we live in - we couldn't make this stuff up if we tried. She was subsequently arrested for allegedly distributing 'vagina selfies'. Oh the woes of being a misunderstood artist!
3D printing has conquered both land and sea, and is now becoming a master of the sky. Ever heard of a perosnal UAV?
Short for unmanned aerial vehicle, these lightweight machines are slightly different to their cousins that drop bombs from high altitudes. Attach a camera to them, learn how to fly one and you've got yourself a unique perspective for filming live events, sports matches or even home-made films and documentaries.
The video above provides a detailed explanation of the hand-launched UAV, created by a team at the University of Virginia for the Department of Defense. Speeds can reach an impressive 120mph, at the cost of quickly draining the battery.
Eventually, 3D printed drones could be irreplaceable in recon missions. The ability to 3D print a new one and have it up and running within a few hours makes it extremely desirable.
Supposedly, the world's first 3D printed drone was designed and built across the pond, in Southampton. The SULSA drone can be assembled within 10 minutes and is comprised of only 14 parts.
Hopefully, hobbyists won't use these to spy on their neighbors.
3) A Fetus
Wait... what? There's actually a good explanation for this.
|A 3D Printed Fetus|
Image from ABC news
Think of it as a souvenir for 9 months of struggling.
If you're ready to fork out about 100,000 Yen (€683), you can cuddle up to your plastic fetus as much as you like. Fasotec and the Hiroo Ladies Clinic in Tokyo are the ones responsible for the 'Shape of an angel' service.
The impressive Biotexture technology is used to render the 3D data, after which a high-end resin printer begins to dual print the mother's transparent womb and the fetus' body.
Fasotec have been in the industry for over 30 years, so if there's anyone you should trust to print your fetus, it's definitely them.
|A 3D Printed Bong|
Image from Reddit
4) Drug Paraphernalia
Malta 3D Printing doesn't condone the use of drugs, but we've always got an eye open for unusual, niche products. A novelty item if there ever was one, a 3D printed bong is sure to have stoners out there saving up their weed money.
Besides water pipes, other paraphernalia like grinders, ash catchers, splash guards, pipes and cleaners can also be printed.
With the infinite customization options available to users, you may be smoking out of a skull-bong modeled from your own head soon enough.
In case you've been living under a rock, 3D printed guns have been around for more than a year now. Originally, they would malfunction and explode upon being fired, but their development has since improved.
Image from Daily Mail
Most cannot fire more than a few rounds. It is sobering to imagine the potential dangers of such a product, created by the same machine which is about creating, not destroying.
Contrary to the Daily Mail's fear-mongering article which implies that anyone can 3D print a gun, they are in fact very hard to make. As anyone with experience in the world of 3D printing could tell you, printing a complex, functioning product is far from easy. On top of that, building something which requires multiple pieces that can fire live rounds makes it an even tougher nut to crack.
Luckily, most of 3D printing personnel we've met aren't hell bent on spreading anarchy by promoting the proliferation of plastic guns.
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