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3D Printing

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Last updated by Joy Kitt

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This is possibly the most amazing "what if?" ever!  What if...you could make anything you ever wanted, ever imagined, ever drew????  What if your idea could change someone's life?  Well, try 3D printing. It is a growing element in prototyping of new inventions as it enables inventors and scientists and designers to actually hold their ideas in their hands .  It has the potential to revolutionise medicine, archaeology, even paleontology as well. 

They asked "What if we could unwrap Tutankamen and have a look at him in real life" - but then he wouldn't be a mummy anymore and he might fall apart.  "So they have 3D printed him.  They put the mummy through a CT scan to collect all the data on him  and then fed that into a 3D printer. The printer produced a full sized, 3D perfect replica of the body of Tutankamen from inside the mummy wrappings. Now the scientists can study him and yet he is still preserved. Amazing!  How might this technology be used in NZ museums on NZ treasures?

Wildlife experts, designers and vets worked together to help fix a Bald Eagle's beak.  They built her a new beak that fits and works exactly like her own one because 3D printing allowed them to build it so accurately. How else might 3D printing help preserve wildlife, endangered animals or help us know more about extinct animals?

What if you could print yourself a house?  How sustainable are the materials we are building with? What if you could build a house out of the actual ground it is built on?  Well - try stone spraying.  Even the machine that makes the structure  is solar powered.  This is still in the early stages of develpment but how would you use it? What would be the advantages or disadvantages of priinting your own house?  Who would be in charge of it? How could you tell they were safe?

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3D printing is at the cutting edge of design. There are printers in NZ.  You can get small ones to use at home.  (New toys anyone?!) You can go online and order 3D jewellery you design online and then they send it to.  What if you could do 3D printing at your school - what do you need, want, dream of?