3D Printing in Prague: What, Where and Why?

Discover the evolving process of printing clothes, organs and even food

Although the first prototype was created in 1996, the concept of 3D printing is still relatively new. Today 3D printing is mainly used to print prosthetic limbs, clothes from unusual materials and scientists are experimenting with the printing living tissue. The potential for three-dimensional printing is huge – but the process is still a mystery to many people.

To print a 3D object, you need a virtual design that you can create using a variety of 3D modeling programs such as SketchUp. Another option is to use a 3D scanner to 'copy' an existing object. The way the printing actually works is by creating layers that are printed horizontally on top of one another.

“The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object,” is how the process is described on 3Dprinting.com.

Objects can be printed on a wide variety of materials that make 3D printing so exciting to experiment with. Plastic, textile, living tissue and edible substances can all be used to create three-dimensional objects that you can use, wear and eat.

Currently, 3D printing is best known for creating prosthetic limbs: using this process is much cheaper and less time consuming than alternative methods. There are even organizations such as Enabling the Future that create free 3D printed hands and arms for for those in need.

The medical world is also experimenting with printed casts that look better and have benefits over regular casts. The next step, however, is perfecting the printing of organs. This revolutionary concept became popularized by surgeon Anthony Atala in 2011 when he spoke at a Ted Talk together with Luke Massella, a patient who's engineered bladder was created using a similar technology. Just this year there was a breakthrough in 3D printed organs that you can read more about here.

The fashion industry has been fascinated with the concept as well, and Prague has been lucky to experience several 3D printed fashion shows. Just last October, Czechdesign.cz hosted a fashion show that aimed to bring 3D printed designs to the Czech fashion scene.

The possibilities are seemingly endless – even chefs are considering incorporating 3D technologies into their kitchens. SCOFF3D is a Kickstarter campaign that hoped to get enough funding to open a 3D printed cafe. While they didn't reach their goal, their exciting idea shows how limitless the potential of this developing technology actually is.

Prague is a great place to learn more or even experiment with 3D printing. There are groups who meet to discuss the topic in Czech and English on Meetup.com and there are companies that will help you create a design and print it for you. 3Dbandit.cz is located in Prague 10 and has an affordable price list for their printing services.

You don't need to be a creative genius to create something cool, you can easily shop for ready made 3D designs online. There are so many every day objects that you can print: a new case for your phone, a personalized coaster, a unique key-chain and even a new armband for your watch.

You don't have to stay on the sidelines of the 3D printing revolution – you can join discussions, attend some events or dive straight into the printing process.


3D Printing Services in Prague - Prague.TV Business Directory



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