What’s Old is New Again
Todd Grimm posted on March 01, 2012 |
Applications that are in the news have their roots in decades-old stories. Yet, they are new to the ...

scanning dinosaur boneIf you haven’t seen the stories of printed dinosaur bones, jaw bone implants and museum reproductions, you haven’t been paying attention. Over the past few months, the media has been all over these stories.

Editors around the globe are gushing about these 3D printer applications. Reading between the lines, you can almost hear the giddiness as they pontificate about the future.

Rightfully so…these are amazing stories that give us a glimpse at what is happening today and what is possible.

I, however, discounted these stories, upon first glance, as being old news. That is a danger of being an old-timer in a vibrant industry. Luckily, I got wise before passing on these interesting reads.

You see, each of these stories has been told long ago. The names and details have changed, but the core of the tale remains the same.

sintered jaw boneDinosaur bones and human remains were printed in the mid-1990s. They were used for scientific study and as museum pieces. On the heels of the introduction of metal systems, medical practitioners began their efforts to make implants. Before that, companies were printing medical models of conjoined twins. The Smithsonian has a number of 3D-printed objects in its collections, and it has had an exhibit name “Written in Bone” since February 2009 that uses many 3D printed items.

What I failed to appreciate is that these applications are new to the masses that have only recently discovered 3D printing. And what I now appreciate is that what is old can be new once again. In retelling the stories through captivating examples, we engage a broader audience that will be the next wave of 3D printer users and enthusiasts.

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