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Duck with 3D-printed prosthetic foot

Buttercup is a duck who was born with a deformed foot. So the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary and NovaCopy scanned and printed a copy of Buttercup's sister Minnie's foot! You can watch him walk for the first time wearing the prosthetic below. What a lucky duck. "Duck Foot" (Bust)

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HOWTO: Laser-cut and 3D printed record albums

Amanda Ghassaei used a laser cutter to engrave audio into wood, acrylic, and paper discs. Sure, the sound quality is, er, terrible, but… art! Previously, Ghassei 3D printed records from MP3 files. She's posted HOWTOs for both on Instructables! Laser Cut Record and 3D Printed Record

3D printed synthetic tissue folds itself into shapes

NewImageUniversity of Oxford chemists custom-built a 3D printer that fabricates "synthetic tissue," or rather structures with tissue-like functions. Eventually, the technology could be used to crank out replacement tissue that could replace damaged human tissue or be used in new drug delivery systems. The material consist of a network of water droplets encapsulated in lipids, or fat molecules.

"The droplets… form pathways through the network that mimic nerves and are able to transmit electrical signals from one side of a network to the other," says Oxford University chemistry professor Hagan Bayley.

Amazingly, the material can be chemically "programmed" to fold into various shapes as water is transferred around in the network. (Video above.)

"3D printer can build synthetic tissues" (Univ of Oxford, via Science News)

"A Tissue-like Printed Material" (Science)

4D printing and programmable matter

As part of Institute for the Future's research project on what we're calling "The Coming Age of Networked Matter," we've looked at progress around programmable materials that can morph and self-assemble. MIT professor and TED fellow Skylar Tibbits is pushing on this idea with what he dubbed "4D printing, where the fourth dimension is time," meaning that the printed objects change shape over a certain period. (Thanks, Jake Dunagan!)

Getting Started with MakerBot - a new Make book

My kids and I are getting a 3D printer for Christmas, and even though its not a MakerBot, this new book by MakerBot co-founder Bre Pettis is very useful for anyone getting started with 3D printing. (Disclosure: I'm editor-in-chief of MAKE which published this book)


Ready to join the personal fabrication movement? This hands-on book shows you how to make a wide variety of physical objects with the amazing MakerBot 3D printer.

It’s handy when you need a replacement for something lost, broken, or no longer made—like a knob on your stove. You can make things instead of buying them, or solve problems with inventions of your own. The possibilities are endless, and MakerBot is the fun, affordable, and inspiring way to go. Get started with your own little factory today!


• Set up your MakerBot Replicator 2 and understand how it works
• Learn the basics and print 10 useful objects right away
• Make objects with sturdy yet biodegradable PLA
• Get examples of real-world problem solving, from ceiling hooks to hermit crab shells
• Choose from thousands of free designs on Thingiverse.com—and share your own
• Repurpose disposable products by making them part of your design
• Design your own 3D objects, using SketchUp, Autodesk 123D, OpenSCAD, and other tools
• Use 3D scanning technology to replicate real objects around you

Getting Started with MakerBot

3-D printer makes scaffolding for growing bones

This project at Washington State University is incredibly nifty. Researchers use a 3-D printer to make a bone-like material that can temporarily do the job of bone, while serving as a scaffold for new bone to grow on. Over time, it dissolves safely.

Read more about it on the WSU website

Video Link

Chemistry of the future: 3D models and augmented reality

In a very cool video from Chemical and Engineering News, Art Olson of the Scripps Research Institute explains how chemists in his lab can predict how well the drugs they develop will work.

Olson's lab prints 3D models of molecular structures, both targets—like the HIV protease enzyme in the video—and the drugs they've made to bond to those targets. The models are rigged up so that when Olson holds them in front of a webcam, they instantly interact with chemical analysis software his team has built. The result is a system that allows researchers to see, physically, how well the drugs fit their targets, and simultaneously test how well the two are likely to bond on a chemical level.

Thanks, Aaron Rowe!