The 6 Coolest 3D Printing Gadgets (& Jobs) in 2017
The 3D printing industry is bursting with surprising, new applications and tools. And with investment in 3D printing expected to grow by 55 percent, you can bet that companies are hiring like crazy for individuals with this skill set (State of 3D Printing, 2017). We sorted through the clutter to create a list of the latest gadgets and jobs that you need to know about.
If you’re looking for a new job in this cutting-edge industry, click here.
1. THE MAMMOTH
Okay, so its real name isn’t the Mammoth, but you get the picture—it’s huge.
Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) is a 5 foot wide, 12 foot long and 6 foot tall 3D printing machine. It can print 80 pounds per hour, which can come in handy if you’re looking to print life-size cars, large plane parts or hundreds of tools. You can find this machine at work at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Georgia facility printing tools for the C-130 Hercules.
2. TOPOGRAPHICAL MAPS
For those who still can’t get the hang of digital maps, engineers have developed 3D printed maps.
By combining terrain data with real-time surveillance from drones, aircraft and satellites, you can develop a highly accurate, up-to-date 3D representation of any given area. The hardest decision you’ll make is selecting the material—rubber to roll up for easy transportation, glow-in-the-dark fabric for nighttime use, or edible material in case you get lost in the middle of nowhere.
3. THE SCIAKY PRINTER
Engineers can 3D print a dome for a spacecraft fuel tank in two weeks.
For many applications, 3D printing takes significantly less time than traditional manufacturing. Case in point, using a Sciaky printer, engineers can 3D print a dome for a spacecraft fuel tank in two weeks versus the 18 to 20 months it would take using traditional methods.
And speaking of metal in space, check out number four on the list.
BONUS: Print Your Own Orion Spacecraft
Download a STL file of Orion to use on your 3D printing machine.
Yes, we said propellant.
Recently, a team of Lockheed Martin engineers successfully tested a six-inch rocket with 3D printed propellant grain.
6. AUTOMATED FIBER PLACEMENTS
This machine manufactures large-scale, complex-shaped structures, like airframes, with composite materials. Watch the video to the left to see it in action.
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