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Manufacturing You

3D printing is a very interesting form of manufacturingtechnology in my opinion. With it come a variety of applications which canchange a large variety of industries in the world, including the consumerindustry. I want to highlight one of the applications which involve thecreation of custom dolls, action figures, and bobble heads – all of which use3D printing & YOU. This manufacturing process allows for the manufacturingof you. Before I jump into the applications, I want to briefly coverwhat 3D printing actually is. To say it plain and simple, 3D printing is thelayer by layer creation of products, sometimes referred to as additivemanufacturing. The actual process of 3D printing involves a designer or artistactually designing a piece to be manufactured through a 3D image. The printeritself will have to call upon a design of some kind to create a product. Theseproducts are made layer by layer by these machines known as 3D printers. The 3Dprinters themselves will actually call upon the designs, as they act as ablueprint. The systems that these printers follow are known as CAM systems, orcomputer aided manufacturing systems. In a nut shell, this means the computerwithin the machine will tell the machine where to start creating these products.When it comes down to actually creating the product, the printer will have tolay down layers of material down on a build tray. These layers are laid down atdetail levels as high as 11 microns, which is about a fourth of the diameter ofa human hair – that’s a pretty high resolution! There are all sorts of applications that come about fromthis manufacturing technology. One of these applications is truly customproducts. Some of these products revolve heavily on you, the consumer. Some ofthese companies that work with 3d printing revolve around the actual design andrecognition of customers’ faces, bodies, and attributes. What do I mean when Isay this? Well, businesses are beginning to use software, 3D scanning, andmodeling to recreate YOU as a customer. Some businesses revolve around 3Dprinted bobble heads. Others work around 3D printed action figures. Some offer3D printed dolls. There are quite a few possibilities when it comes down toactually being able to replicate a person. Just keep that in mind when shoppingfor the next Christmas gift – you can print someone as an action figure! Prettycool right?  On top of this, there are some other cool advancementscoming along through the world of 3d printing. One of the applications I wantto talk about is organ replication. That’s right, recreating organs. AnthonyAtala and his team are working to reproduce organs through 3D printing! Thisprocess works well so far with simple organs, like bladders. Skin has also beenreplicated, and parts of kidneys have also worked. Essentially, this processinvolves doctors extracting cells from a patient, and laying them down layer bylayer in certain patterns, which resemble certain organs, and then having themgenerate. More is definitely on its way when discussing 3d printing; there arealready quite a few ways to print… you. 

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