3Dea’s Top Five: 3D Printing On Mars, For Meat And In Toys

3D Printing is Going to Outer Space
NASA’s newest rover includes over 70 3D printed parts. The Desert Research and Technology Studies group (D-RATS) has constructed a SUV-sized rover with 3D printed bumpers, camera mounts, pod doors, and custom fixtures, which has been in the works since 2009. The rover will be manned by two people and can serve as their shelter and method of transportation. The rover is designed to allow researchers to move around Mars’ surface without having their movements restricted by bulky space suits. Shapeways – Cody Burke

No Meat, No Problems
Whether it’s for moral or environmental reasons, it seems like more and more people are advocating vegetarianism as a better and more sustainable way of life. But what if you’ve just got to have your ribeye? Breakout Labs, owned by Peter Thiel, invested $350,000 in the Modern Meadows project, aimed at developing a method for 3D printing meat. 3D printing, among other technologies such as in vitro meat and the rearranging of flavor compounds, could minimize the amount of meat humans eat – as well as reduce our carbon footprint in the process. Humans Invent – Leo Kent

Where 3Dreams Come True
Researchers at the Walt Disney Company are exploring ways to incorporate 3D printing into their children’s toys. Specifically, the toymakers are testing ways to 3D print light features into toys – a process that they say could one day make the manufacture of light-up toys a faster and cheaper process. Disney uses “light pipes” and air tubes whose glow can be manipulated, and already the process is speeding up the manufacture of prototypes. BBC News

3DSVP: 3D Printing, Netherlands Style
The Netherlands is getting the country’s first 3D printing store. 3DSVP, opening in January 2013, is located on Koningstreet in Haarlem. A website already allows patrons to order custom iPhone and iPad cases, jewelry and lamps online and then have the completed product delivered to their home. 3DSVP, founded by Hanneke van Pampus and Norman van Beek, is the first physical space in the Netherlands devoted to 3D printing where customers can interact with the men and women behind the products they are ordering. 3Ders (translated from Nu – Rikki Hendriks)

3Do It Yourself
Princeton grad student Linjie Luo and his colleagues recently wrote a program called “Chopper,” which partitions large 3D printed objects into smaller components based on structural soundness and ease of assembly. Most 3D printers – especially ones designed for home use – are not large enough to print out objects such as chairs and tables. However, if Chopper is publicly released, you don’t have to worry that your 3D printer isn’t big enough to print that bicycle you want. Just break it up into parts and put it together yourself. Kind of like IKEA. 3D Printer – Cameron Naramore

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