Three-dimensional printers are making just about any item a person can think of, including prosthetics that fit perfectly and replacement organs made of a person’s own DNA or cells to avoid rejection from a transplant.
Proteins can be printed to make food items.
Although referred to as printing, the machine extrudes layers of material to form an object in 3-D, explained Nick Johnson at the recent WorkBC Find Your Fit event at Skeena Middle School.
“If you can think it, you can print it,” he said, adding that prosthetics can be cast to fit perfectly. A young person even used the printer to make his own braces for his teeth, thereby saving his parents a considerable chunk of change, added Johnson.
In Africa, there is a 3-D printer shaped like a teepee that makes forms for houses; dirt, mud and rock can to be shovelled into the form and a house is made, he said. The international space station even has a printer, he added.
When coffee machines that use single-use flavours that came in creamer-sized containers became popular, which increased the amount of empty containers going into the garbage, someone came up with the idea to make the creamer-sized containers out of corn starch, which will decompose, said Johnson.
The machine at the event here was printing a rigid edged item in 50 per cent fill, which takes an hour, he said, adding that 100 per cent fill takes two hours and makes an item thats almost completely smooth on its outside.
Items on display that had been made included a cell phone holder, a tiny computer and a tiny robot.
WorkBC’s Find Your Fit is an interactive event where individuals can learn about careers and test out skills needed for those occupations.