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It’s that time of the week again, where we bring you the latest happenings in the world of 3D printing. We’re not going to give you the usual story about how a 3D printer printed a house, or about how the technology is evolving. This piece is purely about the current events surrounding 3D printing and why it is relevant at this very moment in time.

This week sees 3D printing breaking down even more barriers and being featured on the BBC news website for helping disabled people to get around and to have access to more social opportunities. We also see how you could be holding a life-size portrayal of your unborn baby in a pregnancy scan. To add to this, we finish off with something nice and shiny; a 3D printed titanium road bike!

3d printed speakers

3D printing and the disabled community

3D printing has long been a medium to entertain us, to provide fun and different alternatives to what we consider the ‘norm’. It is what we would call a fashion, a fad as well as a revolution and a wondrous invention. It creates things we never knew we needed or could conceive, and it also creates those things that we already had, but which cost us too much to produce.

Now 3D printing is taking its first steps out of the realm of self-delight and instant gratification, and into the wider world. No longer is it only just a super-expensive toy for tech heads and computer whizzes to print off a 3D dog or a spiralling art sculpture; it is helping those less fortunate than the majority of us.

We’ve already seen 3D printing’s venture into healthcare and state of the art medical procedures, but what about the everyday struggles of people’s day to day lives? What about those who cant do what we can? Well 3D printing is now helping disabled people to access public places and become a more involved component of modern society…

3d printed wheelchair ramp

Pictured above is a 3D printed ramp which allows those travelling in shop-mobility vehicles and motorised scooters to access steep curbs and other places where they previously couldn’t get to. We have wheelchair user and 3D inventor Raul Krauthausen to thank for this handy invention, but it doesn’t stop there.

 Raul Krauthausen

Above you can see Ollie Baskaran’s straw ‘bung’, which helps him to hold straws still and secure in drinks when he’s out drinking at the pub. Ollie decided that he wanted to control his straws when they started bobbing around in his drinks, a simple 3D Printed ‘bung’ shown here does the trick. Now there’s something you just can’t buy – yet.

Unborn babies

Going for a scan when pregnant can be a life changing moment, chances are, it will be the first time you see your future child and you may even get to find out if it will be a girl or a boy. So it is no wonder than people have been getting excited over little black and white scan images of their unborn babies for so long.

Little black and white scan images however, just aren’t enough for the world of 3D printers, and so this is what you get if you mix modern technology with pregnancy scans:

3d printed ultra sound scan

Yes, you are seeing this right, this is a photograph of a pair of unborn babies 3D printed! Yes that’s right, you can now opt for 4D scan of your baby, and have it delivered to your door in a little wooden box. Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? We’re not sure ourselves, although it’s crazily futuristic and mesmerising; it does leave us feeling a bit uneasy. Maybe it’ll catch on…

The 3D printed titanium road bike

3D printing also makes its breakthrough to the sporting world this week, as Australian company ‘Flying Machine’ have come up with, and 3D Printed, the 3DP-F1.

We’ve seen gimmicky bikes and other wheeled-contraptions be printed by 3D technology, but the 3DP-F1 is a real contender for race day. The printed bike is no longer the strange looking invention you expect to see a mad scientist struggling on in the local park, but a sturdy and ride-able bike that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen on out in public.

3d printed road bike

So that’s it for this week’s update of 3D printing news, we hope you enjoyed it! If you have been inspired by this article, or seen something amazing you’d like to share with us, chat to us on our Twitter, Facebook or Google + pages.

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