9 awesome 3D printing videos to show your friends who think you’re off your rocker

Let’s face it, not everything can be described or fully appreciated with words alone, so these videos will hopefully help your warry friends understand how cool 3D printing really is, and that you aren’t totally off your rocker.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth 1000 x frames per second of the video x the length of the video in seconds, which is a lot. Like a million, at least. And since I don’t feel like typing that much — and let’s be honest, you wouldn’t read it if I did — I present these awesome videos that demonstrate (some of) the capabilities of 3D printing.

A working bicycle

Okay, so “It was a little bit wobbly” was a bit of an understatement, but as he points out, the point of printing a bike was to demonstrate the potential of 3D printing to people that aren’t in the aerospace and engineering industries. The fact that its bearings were printed and that it can, being totally plastic, operate under a grown man is, frankly, amazing.

Moving parts, printed in place

So you don’t need a wobbly bike; you probably have a smartphone, though, and smartphones like cases, because smartphones are expensive and expensive things are especially affected by gravity. Only 3D printing can deliver a multi-material case with moving parts that doesn’t require assembly. These cases are sure to impress your friends with their plain ol’ static cases.

Working wrenches

This video shows the near-magical photopolymer jet technology of Objet (now merged with Stratasys), and the scalability of 3D printing with varying sizes of working “prototype” wrenches all being produced at the same time, and at a resolution of 16 microns (less than a fifth of the diameter of a human hair). I put prototype in quotation marks because 3D printing blurs the line between prototyping and manufacturing. Would a contractor use these printed tools to build a bridge? Probably not. Could you use them to fix your leaky sink? Certainly.

Big wrench

The largest of those wrenches that came out of the Objet Connex500 is big, but it doesn’t compare to the huge (also working) wrench that came out of the Objet1000, which requires its own special dolly to move objects from the printer to the wash station, and it prints at the same 16 micron resolution.

Functional furniture from recycled plastic

While we’re on the subject of big, this robotic arm printer can print stylish, single-piece furniture from scrap plastic. Usually recycling plastic is not efficient, but turning it directly into another object is much more practical, and fun to watch.

Itsy bitsy teenie weenie spaceship

Big is clearly doable for 3D printing, but small seems no biggie either. Really small. That spaceship printed by Nanoscribe’s Photonic Professional GT is less wide than a human hair, and it took less than a minute to print!

A kidney

The 3D printing bit starts around the 7:20 mark, and the breakthroughs of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine are highlighted, demonstrating the potential to produce solid organs with bioprinting.

Blood vessels from a RepRap

If you thought bioprinting was limited to super-expensive machines, the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have got something to say about that, as they’ve printed scaffolds of sugar on an open-source RepRap that allow working blood vessels to be formed. You can also build your own DIY bioprinter [https://www.3dprinter.net/diy-inkjet-bioprinter] that will print live cells.

And of course, Yoda

No Best of 3D Printing Videos list is complete without a timelapse video of the iconic Yoda bust. This one is especially neat because it shows the quality difference between printing at 0.1mm and 0.2mm.