Many people think that home 3D printing – in which you print 3D objects at home sort of like you print a picture or page of text – is the “next big thing.”
Some goes as far as to predict that we’re on the cusp of the next Industrial Revolution, one in which the means of production are taken from factories and distributed into every person’s home. Need a new frame for your glasses? Print one that fits you exactly. Want to give your girlfriend a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day? Print the box and the chocolates, designed especially for her. Plastic, medal, food, even human organs can be printed. While it may be a little while before 3D printing can truly take over all of these things, that’s the vision.
While most high quality 3D printers cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, in the last few years a bunch of companies have sprung up that sell small 3D printers that most people can afford if they really wanted one (anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars). Granted, since the industry for small, low-cost 3D printers is relatively new, the printers are fairly limited in what they can do (think back to what computer printers were like 20 years ago). But they are getting better and cheaper all the time. To learn more about home 3D printing, check out the recent documentary Print the Legend, available on Netflix.
Now, even if you have a 3D printer, to print anything you need 3D designs. Thingiverse is one website where people share their 3D designs. So if you have a 3D printer but (like most people) know nothing about 3D design, you can search there for designs to print. This is a list of a few cool Christian designs people have made and that are available for download for free.
For each item, a 3D computer model is shown first, and then a picture of the object actually printed out by a 3D printer.
1) Sioux Falls Cathedral in South Dakota, USA
2) Christ the Redeemer Statue
3) St. Nicholas Cookie Cutter
4) St. Benedict medal
5) Stand-Up Ichthys Fish
6) Bust of Pope St. John XXIII
The 3D print is on the left, the (presumably) original from which the model was scanned on the right:
7) Mont Saint-Michel
8) Hanging Nativity scene
9) St. John the Baptist statue
The 3D print is on the left, the (presumably) original from which the model was scanned or based on the right: