3D printing is such a fun hobby: you can design and create almost anything! But 3D printing is used for more than just fun, it has many exciting real-world applications. Here are 5 exciting real-world applications of 3D design that we want to share with you!

1. Architecture

Architects have created a 3D printed bridge to go over a canal in Amsterdam. It took over 6 months to print, but as technology gets better and better this process can get much faster! By printing the bridge, architects are able to create interesting and innovative designs that would be more difficult to do by hand.

2. Wheelchairs for Dogs

Erica Charbonneau designed this dog wheelchair when a friends French Bulldog was in need, but they could not afford the high cost of an ordinary wheelchair. The joint pieces are 3D printed and fit into acrylic or aluminum tubing to make up the body of the chair. You can even download the files for yourself. This is a great alternative to what would otherwise be a very expensive tool for her dog!

3. Medical Surgery

Also in the medical field, doctors at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto have started 3D printing hearts to prepare for surgery on children. In order to prepare for surgery, doctors can practice on a 3D replica of the child’s heart. The innovative method has helped doctors at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children perfect these delicate surgeries. 3D modeling also provides more peace of mind for parents before a stressful procedure, the doctor will know exactly what to do because they have seen the patient’s heart already, all without ever opening their chest!

4. Museums

Many Museums, like the Smithsonian Museum, have started to create 3D scans of items in their collection for people to look at online! Thanks to 3D printing, if you go to the museum itself, you will be able to touch and interact with historical objects in a way like never before! No more glass barriers between you and all of the cool artifacts! (ok, there is still a glass barrier for the real thing, but you can touch the 3D prints).

If you’re viewing the collection online, you can get up close and personal with these objects on your computer screen. 3D imaging can allow museums extensive precious collections to be made available more broadly and it can put museum collections in a global environment. Click here to explore their collection! 

5. Archaeology and Fossils

Africanfossils.org is a virtual lab showcasing an amazing collection of fossils. Their website allows you to explore and discover their fossils online. Even better, you can also download their 3D models for 3D printing at home or your local library so you can experience these fossils in real life, not just online!

As you can see, 3D printing has many exciting applications apart from being a fun hobby. 3D scanning and 3D printing are revolutionizing many industries across the world. We can’t wait to see what new applications this incredible technology will have!