A rundown of stuff you can now make with 3d printers includes eagle’s beaks (there’s an eagle wearing one now), Escher buildings, the world’s fastest shoe, iPhone cases, and yes, pistols.
An American gunsmith has become the first person to construct and shoot a pistol partly made out of plastic, 3D-printed parts. The creator, user HaveBlue from the AR-15 forum, has reportedly fired 200 rounds with his part-plastic pistol without any sign of wear and tear.
HaveBlue’s custom creation is a .22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper. In other words, the main body of the gun is plastic, while the chamber — where the bullets are actually struck — is solid metal.
For their part, rebels in Syria are already using YouTube and Facebook. Pretty soon guerrillas worldwide may start stockpiling MakerBots along with AK-47s and RPGs.
Rebels fighting against Bashar Assad in Syria’s civil war are outgunned, outmanned and largely aren’t professional soldiers. So they’re turning to social media for tutorials in how to use their weapons.
In the video above, a faceless individual offers a 15-minute crash course in Arabic on the basics of assault rifles. It’s posted to the YouTube channel FSAHelp, for “Free Syrian Army,” as the resistance calls itself. Additional videos on the channel demonstrate how to shoot from a prone position, how to creep up on an enemy from a hidden position, and hand-to-hand combat. The hi-def videos are fairly high quality, with actors wearing ski masks and toting guns in wooden fields demonstrating combat maneuvers.
The YouTube channel isn’t the only clearing house for Syrian guerrilla training. FSAHelp’s Facebook page has much more, from photos about turning the ringtones off of cellphones to videos that demonstrate how to operate anti-tank missiles.
3-d printing can be used to heal as well as harm.
“A bald eagle that lost its beak to a poacher’s gun receives a 3-D printed beak prosthetic like a dental implant.” More (with pictures): “Mr Calvin, a founder of the Boise-based Kinetic Engineering Group, made a mold of Beauty’s shattered upper mandible, laser-scanned it, fine-tuned it in a 3D modeling program, and created a prosthetic beak from a nylon-based polymer.”
In case you missed the original story on NMDnet, you can now shoot photos of an object with your iPhone and get a free 3D CAD model of the object in return.
Autodesk’s 123D Catch, the app that lets you scan a 3D object by taking panoramic-style photos from your iPad, PC or Web browser, is now available on the iPhone.
As we wrote when its iPad app was first released, 123D Catch allows users to take up to 40 photos of a specific object, which are then uploaded to Autodesk Cloud for processing. From there, the resulting 3D model can be rotated, shared, or even printed by a 3D printer like MakerBot…Now, if you’re wondering how this app could be used, here’s an awesome example: not too long ago MakerBot went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to scan art for the world to download, make and remix.
Or print some high-tech high heels.
This combination of Italian leather and a 3D-printed structure gives this walker some real panache for the 3D Print Show. The “Invisible Shoe” by Andreia Chaves explores the concept of invisibility through a unique optical effect that occurs owing to the reflective finished surface flashing with every step taken.
Or something relatively humdrum, like a custom iPhone case based on your local geography. Or your own impossible structure based on an Escher drawing (via Bruce Sterling):
And there’s always footwear.
“Engineer and designer Luc Fusaro from the Royal College of Art in London has developed a prototype running shoe that can be uniquely sculpted to any athlete’s foot. It’s as light as a feather too, weighing in at 96 grams. The prototype is aptly named, Designed to Win, and is 3D printed out of nylon polyamide powder, which is a very strong and lightweight material. The manufacturing process uses selective laser sintering (SLS), which fuses powdered materials with a CO2 laser to create an object. This process means 3D scans can be taken of the runner’s foot so as to ensure the shoe matches the shape perfectly. Fusaro can also change the stiffness of the soles according to the athlete’s physical abilities. The shoe can improve performance by 3.5%, meaning a 10 second 100-meter sprinter could see his time drop by 0.35 seconds, which is a huge time saving relatively speaking. Imagine if Usain Bolt put a pair of these running shoes on.”
And for those geeks who just have to have their news in 3d (and who doesn’t), there’s now RSS 3-D:
Tao Presentations 1.14 was just released. It includes a new example showing your favorite RSS feeds in 3D. This is a new and intriguing way to show real-time information. And it’s fairly simple, barely 120 lines of code!
The included example samples a few feeds from Google News, Slashdot or Twitter. It loads the pictures found on Google news and shows them on rotating cubes.