The hottest 3D printing projects

From cars to houses, 3D printers are changing design technology.

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Credit: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Hot stuff

In the past few months a number of super cool 3D printing projects have hit the market. We’re talking about 3D printed cars for the masses and five-story buildings to name a couple interesting ventures. Take a look.

Related: Wicked cool 3D printer creations

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Credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
The one-and-only Shelby

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (R) take a look at a 3D printed Shelby Cobra car during a tour of Techmer PM, a plastics manufacturing company in Clinton, Tenn. At left are Managing Director of Techmer ES Tom Drye, Shelby Cobra 3d print designer Lonne Love (2nd L). The approximately 1,400-pound vehicle contains 500 pounds of printed parts made of 20 percent carbon fiber.

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Credit: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
Are we human?

A researcher uses a microscope after a laser bio- 3D printing of human cells in the laboratory Biotis at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Pessac near Bordeaux. Producing human tissue will become possible thanks to a team of Bordeaux researchers developing a new technique for bio- 3D printing with laser precision. Human tissue 3D printing will have future applications in cosmetics, pharmacology and surgery soon, especially in the field of skin transplants.

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Credit: REUTERS/Jason Lee
Baby’s got back

A spine model implanted with a titanium tube is displayed at Peking University Third Hospital in Beijing. Chinese doctor Liu Zhongjun has successfully implanted an artificial axis produced by a 3D printer into the spine of a bone cancer patient. This was the first time that an axis produced by 3D printing had been implanted into a patient.

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Credit: REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Mass 3D printer?

Dion Weisler, HP's executive vice president of printing and personal systems, shows off his company's new 3D printer at the Intel keynote at the International Consumer Electronics show.

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Credit: REUTERS
How it works

Graphic explaining how inkjet 3D printing works.

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Credit: REUTERS/Mike Segar
3d solo

An electric guitar made with 3D printing technology from New Zealand 3D manufacturer ODD Guitars is seen on display as part of a new exhibition from the National Guitar Museum "Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked The World" at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J.

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Credit: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Make it yourself

Shapeways is a young Dutch 3D printing firm that has two factories, one in Eindhoven in the Netherlands and one in New York, that let anyone - from haute-couture designers to cat-lovers - print what they want. An example made by the Shapeways 3D printing company is seen at their office in the borough of Queens.

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Credit: NASA
Wicked ratchet wrench

In December, the International Space Station's 3-D printer completed the first phase of a NASA technology demonstration by printing a ratchet wrench with a design file transmitted from the ground to the printer. The ratchet wrench will be returned to the ground for analysis and testing, along with the other parts printed in space. The 4.48-inch-long by 1.29-inch-wide wrench was designed by Noah Paul-Gin, an engineer at Made In Space Inc., a California company that NASA contracted to design, build and operate the printer. The 3-D printer built the wrench by additive manufacturing, depositing 104 layers of plastic.

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Building houses

China-based construction designers WinSun is developing 3D manufactured houses. The company says it uses a 3D printer, which is 20 feet tall, 33 feet wide and 132 feet long to build frames and other building components. Winsun has been showing off the two neighboring projects, one an 1,100-square-meter villa, the other a six-story residential block, in the Chinese city of Suzhou. The residential block is the world’s tallest 3D-printed building, according to the company.

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Credit: REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Your car is printed sir

Local Motors recently demonstrated the one of the world’s first full 3D printed cars and said by the end of the year it hopes to be producing the vehicles for everyday consumption. The two-seat car, known as a Strati, is built almost entirely of carbon-reinforced plastic, including the body and chassis, which takes about 44 hours to make. The goal for the next stage of research and development is to speed up the print rate to 24 hours while maintaining quality, the company says.