Things You Won't Believe Were 3D Printed

The concept of 3D printing has been around since the mid-'80s, but people weren’t really able to actually print an object that they could hold in their hands and use in their everyday lives. This didn’t become commonplace until around 2009, when amateurs and hobbyists alike were able to purchase the first commercially available 3D printers. Even though 3D printing is becoming a more common occurrence, it’s still not entirely mainstream. “What can you make with a 3D printer?” is a question commonly asked by less tech-savvy members of society. As confusing as it may be – the answer is what can’t you make with a 3D printer? It all depends on how creative you are, and how much time you want to commit to your project. The items on this list are all amazing things that you probably won’t believe were 3D printed.

Even while reading this list of awesome objects that were created with a 3D printer, some readers are going to be asking, what is 3D printing? Is it science fiction? Is 3-Dimensional printing the way of the future? How worried should we all be about this? The modern definition is a form of additive manufacturing through sequential layering of material - and it's actually pretty cool. 

On this list you’re going to see the sequential layering of everything from mud and straw, concrete, heavy-duty plastics, and even glass. Although it may seem like a fad, 3D printing objects are soon to aid in the sustainable development of third world countries. Check out this list of things that you didn't know could be 3D printed.

Photo: Bre Pettis / Flickr / CC-BY 2.0

  • A NASA Rocket Engine

    A NASA Rocket Engine
    Video: YouTube
    Here it is. A whole rocket engine, which actually worked, printed by NASA through additive manufacturing. The future is now!
  • A Human Heart

    Yes. Yes, you are reading this correctly. A group of Carnegie Mellon researchers have managed to demonstrate that replicating the human heart is possible with 3D printing. In fact printing models of various human organs and body parts is possible, all using biological materials and a "hacked" 3D printer they bought from just a regular 3D printer store.

    They published their research in the journal Science Advances, and if they can keep at it, this has huge implications for those awaiting organ replacements.
  • A Wheelchair For A Kitten

    A Wheelchair For A Kitten
    Video: YouTube

    When this little kitten, Cassidy, was found in a Canadian forest almost near death, it seemed all hope was lost. It appeared to rescuers from the non-profit cat sanctuary Tiny Kitten that Cassidy's mother had accidentally chewed off her legs while trying to cut the umbilical cord.

    But thanks to Tiny Kittens and a couple of teens who thought "sure, we can print a kitten wheelchair, no problem," Cassidy is learning to walk.
  • A Pizza

    A Pizza
    Video: YouTube
    After winning a grant from NASA for $125,000, Anjan Contractor built a working 3D printer with the ability to replicate food. The first thing he made? Obviously it was a pizza
  • A Set Of Legs For A Dog

    A Set Of Legs For A Dog
    Video: YouTube
    When Derby was born with deformed front legs, he had the good fortune of being fostered by Tara Anderson, a woman who works for 3D Systems, a 3D printing company. In 2014 she designed and printed a set of new legs for Derby that allow him to not only walk and run without getting stuck in the dirt.
  • A Ribcage

    Doctors in Spain printed the first rib cage out of titanium, and implanted it inside a 54 year old man. He had lost his sternum and four ribs when he had a large tumor removed. The rig cage was made with a 3D metal printer - as these types of 3D printers become more common, the medical implant field could see drastic changes.