3D printed ears to transplant

3D printed ears are going to be transplanted on children in India, hopefully restoring their hearing!

At this rate it looks like in a number of years we might be able to order 3D printed body parts online and having them delivered to our local hospital/clinic for transplants 🙂


The BBC will be airing an exciting special BBC Inside Out London special in which the show’s host, Dr. Ranj Singh, pays a visit to the lab of Professor Alex Selfalian at University College London where he and his team are in the process of 3D printing ears made from real human tissue.

As you’ll see in the preview clip below, the lab uses uses accurate scan data to 3D print an ear replica from a nanopolymer.  The print is then sterilized and implanted under the skin of a patient’s forearm, where it acts as a scaffold for human tissue.  Skin and blood vessels grow in around the print over the course of four to eight weeks, at which point, a plastic surgeon removes the ear and places it on the head.

3D printed ear transplanted into rat skin

The scientists at UCL have already tested the growth procedure on rats and, in the next few months, they hope to perform their first human trials in Mumbai, India, where twelve children are awaiting the surgery.  If the implants are a success, the procedure could replace the current method for handling this congenital deformity, which requires shaping rib cartilage into the shape of an ear and three or four different surgeries.

by  | OCTOBER 6, 2014

3D print sand?

Markus Kayser has managed to 3D print sand by harnessing solar power. Follow the link for more!



“So what are you doing this weekend, Markus?”

“Oh, you know. Heading out to the desert and harnessing the power of the sun to make a 3D printer that can print objects out of sand. You?”

“… catching up on Breaking Bad.”

You know the kid in your old neighborhood that spent his spare time frying ants with a magnifying glass? This is like that — except instead of a magnifying glass, he’s using an big ol’ fresnel lens. And instead of roasting insects, he’s melting freaking sand into stuff.

Built by artist Markus Kayser, the “SolarSinter” concept isn’t too disimmilar from laser sintering printers used by operations like SpaceX to print otherwise impossible objects out of metal. A focused sun beam is a whole lot less precise than a finely-honed laser, of course — but the core concepts are the same.

I bet this guy could make a mean sand castle.

by  | Sep 25, 2014

Tabletop gaming

Our latest blog post talks about the impact of the technology of tomorrow on the games of yesterday; tabletop gaming, revamped thanks to 3D printing!


A bright mind and a 3D printer can go a long way. Combining aesthetics and entertainment value, 3D printed games range from chess sets and larger-than-life Rubik’s cubes to entirely new gaming universes created within a matter of days.

Effectively changing the rules of manufacturing, 3D printing will have fans of tabletop gaming stoked when they realize the scale of their favourite pastime just got a whole lot bigger. Printing already has a place in gamers’ hearts’, producing key items like dice and custom landscapes – essential for any serious tabletop gamer.

Exciting breakthrough projects like Breach, Pocket Dungeon and Pocket Tactics have invaded the market dominated by Games Workshop. According to their Thingiverse pages, some of these exciting are yet to be fully completed.

Pocket Tactics is perhaps the most famous of the bunch, and is basically the size of a small travel game – you can play it on any flat surface. Creator Arian Croft, also known as ‘Dutchmogul’, claims to have thought of the idea on a Tuesday night, and by Friday had a functioning prototype ready.

While designers like Croft are busy ping-ponging new ideas around the Ill Gotten Gamesoffice, well-established games like Warhammer 40k and Warmachine may need to look over their shoulders.

Sure, it will be difficult for small companies to pry the hands of loyal gamers away from the most popular tabletop games, but what if they bought miniatures from a different company? Some official gaming kits can cost hundreds of euros, and more.

3D printing is allowing for high-quality miniatures, and Hero Forge serves as the proof in the pudding. Their Kickstarter page reveals the length at which they’re willing to help their customers customize their favourite gaming pieces.

Ironically, the digital revolution is helping the analog world.

Customize and materialize!

Raising over $360,000 (more than triple their original target), their Kickstarter financial goal was met back in February. The appeal to gamers lies in the unprecedented level of detail one can add, with users able to choose different armour, poses, weapons, equipment and character sizes.

Moving on to a different branch of games completely, a quick look at the leading online marketplaces like Shapeways or Thingiverse will reveal the extent of the different board games, puzzles, desk toys and life-like models available.

Chess fans will feel right at home here, as the classic game has been a target of 3D technicians around the world. Since all it requires are pieces and a board to play on, the levels of customization are limitlesss.

If you fancy novelty, check out this portable Star Trek 3D chess set, or if you’re eager to take on two foes at once, this impressive three player set from Acryl should do the trick. Lord of the Rings fans will melt when they gaze upon this classic chess set with characters from Tolkien’s universe.

Our next pick is for the puzzle freaks out there. If you’re a fan of the age-old Rubik’s cube, this extra-large, fully-functional 3x4x5 cuboid will certainly catch your eye. Now being produced en masse, this nifty puzzle requires a bit of DIY assembly – requiring users to use their own springs, screws and washers.

The 3D printing gods have been kind enough to provide us with entertaining products in bountiful amounts, and for this we are very grateful. At this rate, our children of the future will be spoiled for choice!
by  | 25 September 2014

3D printing is affecting in the World of Sport

Our latest blog post: An insight into how 3D printing is helping people unleash their inner jock!


Kira by Sebastian Campos Moller

Think that 3D printing is for nerds? Tell that to the growing number of sports freaks diving into the 3D world.

Printing’s versatility is the reason it’s infiltrating the sporting scene. From the creation of equipment like hockey pucks, racing helmets and football cleats – to surfboards and yachts, who knows what will come next.

In the future, we might walk into 3D printed stadiums, sit in 3D printed stands and watch sporting superstars score in 3D printed goal posts.

While all that may be possible, we’ll just sit back and admire the great sporting achievements additive manufacturing has already achieved – and trust me – you won’t be disappointed.

Helping sailors reduce their carbon footprint, this impressive 3D printed sail boat is powered by solar cells located in the sail. Certified by a Swedish naval architect, this sailboat’s intelligent design allows it to be controlled by a single person via the main computer.

Created by designer Sebastian Campos Moller, it clinched the bronze prize at the ‘2014 International Design Excellence Awards’. Known as the ‘Kira Sail-Yacht’, Moller’s hybrid targets seasoned sailors and less-established seafarers.

Shoe giants Nike have also boarded the 3D printing train, using it to custom build a pair of football shoes, a manufacturing process which may become a staple for them in the future.

Fast-footed footballers will be happy to hear that these super-stylish boots are reported to improve sprint speed. The ‘Nike Vaper Laser Talon‘ pictured below weighs in at just 5.6 pounds, granting wearers maximum traction, an important asset in a game which involves turning at high speed.

These streamlined boots were created thanks to Selective Sintering Technology, or SLS. As usual, the process begins with a 3D model, and involves infusing powder-based materials together using lasers.

The method is ideal for resistant materials, and Nike claims it is sports’ first 3D printed plate, and also the first-ever 3D printed football shoe.

The list of ‘firsts’ for this line of manufacturing continues to expand at an alarming rate. Millions worldwide unwittingly witnessed the power of 3D printing at this year’s world cup, as 29-year old Juliano Pinto kicked the tournament’s first ball.

But what’s so special about that?

Amazingly, Pinto is paralyzed from the waste down. He used a revolutionary, thought-controlled exoskeleton to move his legs and strike the ball. As the neurons dedicated to movement in his brain lit up, his legs swung towards the ball.

The helmet that was attached to Pinto’s skull was 3D printed, making it a key part of the entire design.

People with disabilities around the world looked on in awe as Pinto took one small step for himself, and one giant leap for millions of people with disabilities.

We didn’t even touch on the 3D printed fishing reels, sports masks or the extraordinary bow that has received top reviews. From now on, sports and 3D printing will share a special relationship.


by  | 12 September 2014

3D printing and music

Our latest blog post: A musical ride through the influence and qualities of 3D printing on music! 🙂


Friends, customers, printaholics – lend us your ears and join us along a 3D printed musical adventure!

A recent post which featured one of Malta 3D Printing’s favourite little musical toys – a kazoo – inspired us to continue down this musical vein.

To place things into perspective, the 3D printable instruments of today are split into three categories.

Firstly, we have ‘experimental pieces’, which don’t have a conventional equal outside of the realm of 3D printing. Secondly, there are ‘enhanced instruments’, which improve the qualities of an already existing instrument thanks to 3D printing’s unique capabilities.

Finally, we have replications of existing instruments, which have no real added benefits compared to the traditional piece.

Pictured above is a prime example of a 3D printable musical piece still in experimental stages.

This unusual trumpet is reminiscent of a modern painter’s masterpiece rather than a practical musical device.  While this aesthetically pleasing instrument is yet to be created, there are others which are already in circulation.
In a different interview, flute player Seth Hunter emphasized the plastic flute’s acoustic similarities to the traditional metal ones. He also noted the slight misplacement of the keys – but remember – 3D printing encourages technicians to fix any minor errors in the subsequent print.

Created by yet another student from MIT, Amit Zoran was not far away from creating an exact replica, and this was way back in 2011. The traditional flute falls under the ‘existing instrument’ category, but our next pick certainly has its fair share of enhancements.

A laser-cut violin made from plywood, this stringed instrument was created by Ranjit Bhatnagar, a sound art enthusiast.

Its’ bulky wooden outer shell provides a stern contrast to the graceful sounds it can produce. Bhatnagar even took his masterpiece to the streets, inviting different violin players to fiddle away.

‘Ranjit’ as he is known on Thingiverse, has a personal page chocked full of free designs for different instruments – including an okarina, organ pipe, spiral panpipes and more.

Next up is another piece seeking to replicate an original design, but this one is slightly different. At four feet long, this home-made behemoth requires many printing sessions.

Clearly, this great bass recorder functions well – and the creator has since improved on his original work. The recorer is made up over 48 inches of PVC pipe measuring 1.5″, a few sections made of 2″ and multiple, custom built 3D pieces.

Created by Instructables user ‘sngai’, a quick internet search will reveal that opting to print this object as opposed to purchasing a store-bought one will save players a lot of money.

Who knows what the future holds? PLA pianos, ABS acoustic guitars and printable drum kits may soon become popular. As the number of 3D printed instruments continues to grow, its only a matter of time before musicians hop on the fast-moving bandwagon!

by  | 4 September 2014

The marvels of 3D printing

CHECK OUT our latest blog post! Analysing the impact of 3D printing on houses, cars and boats, we take a look at WinSun; the eco-friendly house builders, Kor Ecologic Ltd; the 3D car printers and the space age looking URBEE 2, a completely 3D printed vehicle!


The Marvels of 3D Printing – Houses, Cars and Boats!

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve most likely been impressed with 3D printing’s versatility – stylish casts, augmented reality sets, retro gaming devices and even beautiful dresses – but now, prepare to marvel in 3DP’s greatest achievements.

Think big – both in scope and size – and you may come close to what we’re about to show you.

We’re taking a look at 3D printable houses, cars and boats – in a quick review sure to please the techies and leave the average person dumbfounded.

You may be asking – how can a relatively small device create a house, or rather, a home, or even a vehicle?

Simply put, these are no average printers – reports claim that the behemoth used to create houses is 10 metres wide and 6.6 metres tall, placing it towards the top of the 3D printing food chain.

The video below captures an ambitious Chinese company’s plans to mass produce houses. Oh, and these aren’t made of plastic! Using recycled stone and quick-drying cement, WinSun, the company responsible, are able to construct 10 eco-friendly dwellings a day!

As we look towards our Chinese printing cousins – we must admire their efficiency and applaud their intention to plug a hole in the market. With China’s property bubble only beginning to show signs of popping in 2014, millions are currently occupying less than adequate living quarters.

Sitting at only a few thousand dollars each, these cosy houses would make a perfect home for the millions of students in Beijing, for example.

Besides being cost-effective, 3D printing is all about environmental protection and longevity. In line with this, Kor Ecologic ltd. are aiming to reduce the billion vehicles already present on our polluted roads – by, you guessed it, 3D printing cars.

As per Korecologic.com, by the time 2050 rolls around the world’s car population will rise to a staggering 2.5 billion. Clearly it would be advantageous for the children of tomorrow to purchase one type of car when they reach their coming of age – one that supports, rather than destroys the environment.

With 3D printing ushering in a new wave of efficiency and sustainability for those knowledgeable enough to harness its power – one should certainly consider a 3D printable car as a gift for the near future.

So, what 3D printed cars are currently available on the market?

The URBEE 2 – a space age looking vehicle with an internal and external structure entirely 3D printed – would be able to travel an extraordinary 4000 kilometers with only 10 gallons of bio-fuel!

Malta 3D Printing is very excited about this prospect! As an upgrade from its predecessor, the URBEE (a worldwide sensation in 2011), the small but stylish URBEE 2 promises to deliver reliability and affordability for a better tomorrow.

Moving on to the final inspirational product that we’ve chosen to feature on our blog today, we have a pair of 3D printed boats sure to turn heads across the seven seas.

One of thee promising creations is from a group of passionate American students from the University of Washington with their ‘milk jug’ style boat – and another from our friends from the East, a Chinese boat that dipped its toes in the water for the first time less than 2 weeks ago!

The group of students who designed and crafted the ‘milk jug’ boat entered it into the annual Seattle Milk Carton Derby, finishing the race in second place! After 8 long weeks of research and preparation, the student team used recycled and melted milk cartons to build their sea vessel – as opposed to the standard thermoplastics normally used.

The Chinese boat, created by the country’s largest 3D printer, is a two-metre long boat weighing in at 35 kilograms, and made of nylon. Similar to the American entry, the Chinese boat supports two adults.

Malta 3D Printing believes that group of UW students really outdid themselves. Both companies used a minimalist approach, recycling different materials to achieve aesthetically pleasing and practical products.

Of course, these projects are not for any regular amateur – requiring plenty of materials and knowledge in the world of 3D printing and their respective areas (architecture, aerodynamics, buoyancy, to name a few).

We hope to see more groundbreaking additions to the 3D printed world soon!

by  | 29 July 2014

Retro Gaming Revolution

Our latest blog post shows you the impact of 3D printing on retro gaming and how its injecting it with colour and life 🙂


Retro Gaming Revolution

Wouldn’t it be nice to sit back and relax while a 3D printer churns out a video game console or a stylish controller?

It sounds unrealistic to say the least – but this seemingly futuristic production process is already happening!

We’re not talking about Xbox One’s and PS4’s being produced en masse – but rather, about retro gaming and innovative peripherals making a return thanks to 3D printing.

Courtesy of Adafruit, a New-York based outfit that incorporates 3D printing in certain products, theopen-source community has received a major boost.

3D Printed Game Boy

In collaboration with the ground-breaking Raspberry Pi, 3D printing now boasts the quarter-century old Game boy in its arsenal. Created by Adafruit, Raspberry Pi – easily mistaken for a small motherboard – is actually a mini-computer you can plug into your TV or keyboard.
Capable of smooth emulation, all the Raspberry Pi requires to transform into a Game boy is a few hours of dedication and the necessary components. The video below directs viewers to a user-friendly assembly guide.

Once its assembled, all that’s left is to download your favorite old school games, (in ‘ROM‘ format)  upload them onto the SD card and begin button bashing.

Broken buttons on your new Game Boy after hours of playing? Malta 3D Printing has you covered!

Sure, a Game Boy isn’t a revolutionary product that’s going to change the world, but it definitely highlights 3D printing’s versatility. It can easily take devices that are decades old and breathe fresh life into them.

3D Printed Guitar/Controller

Adafruit once again provides the cornerstone of this 3D printed guitar, in the form of Bluefruit EZ-key. This nifty Bluetooth device allows users to turn any game-pad – or DIY project like the EZ-Key MIDI Guitar – into a fully functioning controller.

Besides looking totally awesome, the EZ-Key MIDI Guitar is multifunctional – serving either as a MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) instrument, DJ controller or a regular video game controller.

You could customize your own case in a material you desire, without worrying about 3D printing, but where’s the fun in that?

Printed in four separate pieces, this project is not for an amateur technician.

However, should you have the time, tools and patience available at your disposal, this guitar will definitely turn heads.

You can upload data from your musical masterpieces on the web, or quench your thirst for superficial crowd approval on Guitar Hero. You can even make playing everyday video games extremely challenging, by attempting to use it as a normal controller!

All 10 buttons are customizable, and there’s even a mic inside the casing which allows the LED lights to change depending on sound levels.

Portaberry Pi

Our favourite product from today’s post is the Portaberry Pi, another DIY project that uses Raspberry Pi.

Unveiled on 3DPrintBoard‘s online forum by a dedicated hobbyist, Portaberry Pi is the result of dozens of unselfish man hours aimed at providing gaming aficionados with a new toy to play with.

It may not be as recognizable as the Game Boy, a symbol of gaming culture – but it’s certainly easy on the eye and definitely captures the retro gaming feeling.

 Recently featured on LifeHacker, the Portaberry Pi has been described as a “fantastic retro game machine,” and the best part about it – the files are all available for free on Thingiverse.

One can only hope that this mentality continues to proliferate throughout society, allowing people with technical know-how to share their knowledge and wisdom with others.

by  | 17 July 2014

3D printing and fashion

This blog post is for all the fashionistas out there…. if you haven’t heard about the influence of 3D printing on fashion, take note!


When Chuck Hull invented the 3D printer back in the early eighties, revitalizing the fashion world may have been the last thing on his mind. Fast forward to 2014, and Hull’s invention has proved instrumental in changing the way we’re creating clothes, shoes and jewelry, to name a few.

3D printing is uniting experts from different professions, as architects and fashion designers team up to take things to the next level.

Whether it’s a necklace packed with diamonds sold at a staggering $105,000, or a pair of football cleats by Nike perfectly designed to match your foot – 3D printing has found yet another market to sink its teeth into.

Besides ushering in a new wave of creativity, 3DP is also reducing fashion’s carbon footprint. Regardless of the increase in plastics that one may associate with printing’s penetration into the mainstream, commonly used materials like PLA are corn-based. This points to a reduction in the less environmentally friendly petroleum-based plastics.

It’s difficult to mention 3D printing’s finger in the fashion pie without this powerful image ofDita von Teese donning this stunning dress.

Architect Francis Bitonti and fashion designer Michael Schmidt teamed up to create this masterpiece, providing a necessary catalyst for the fashion industry to take this branch of technology seriously.

The burlesque star modelled the world’s first fully articulated dress at an exclusive event at the Ace Hotel in New York, hosted by the 3D printing marketplace, Shapeways.

The designer dress was created based off the golden ratio, a mathematical equation found throughout the universe which humans readily identify with beauty. For more on how the golden ratio (aka the Fibonacci sequence) was incorporated into the dress, check out this interesting Youtube video.

Courtesy of a 3D scanner, von Teese’s body was scanned down to the last curve and turned into a 3D model, giving the team behind the dress unprecedented customization abilities.

This special ensemble has 17 different pieces, which were adjoined, lacquered and fitted with over 13,000 Swarovski crystals. On top of that, the dress has 2,500 intersecting parts which had to be attached by hand.

Currently, this picturesque piece will only interest the wealthiest fashion aficionados and celebrities. However – so long as you don’t expect a few thousand diamonds on your average 3D printed dress – we can expect to see less glamorous garments made at home sometime soon.

Shapeways is the 3D printing company on the forefront of the fashion battle. But who else is involved in this fiery relationship between fashion and technology?

He may not be as stylish as Bitonti or Schmidt, but Google’s Head of Engineering Ray Kurzweil is causing shock-waves in the fashion world – by proclaiming that we’ll all be printing clothes at home within a few years.

By 2020, Kurzweil, aka “the restless genius” (as the Wall Street Journal branded him) foresees the sharing of 3D printable schematics as an everyday thing. Currently, 3D printing’s online fashion world has yet to blossom, but the seed has been planted.

Kurzweil emphasizes the importance of open-source development, a huge step towards the great transformation that the fashion world would go through – so long as the restless genius’ predictions are correct. Perhaps one day, a fashion equivalent of Thingiverse will emerge, symbolizing the shift in power in a fashion industry valued at $1.7 trillion in 2012 (according to FashionUnited’s statistics) in America alone.

by  | 9 July 2014

First 3D printed shoulder prosthesis

The influence of 3D printing on medicine just keeps on increasing in leaps and bounds!!!


Shoulder and Glenoid Cavity

3D printing in the medical field is really beginning to hit its stride lately. Whether it is the use of 3D printing to create models for surgeons to study, using 3D printers to create prosthetic hands or arms, or actually 3D printing replacement parts for the body, we are getting ever so close to a time when 3D printing will be used on a daily basis in every hospital around the globe.

The latest bit of news comes out of the Netherlands, where a patient at the Rijnland Hospital in Leiderdorp is set to receive a 3D printed shoulder & glenoid cavity prosthesis, with the help of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Cornelis Visser. The 3D printing of the prosthetic shoulder, in theory should allow the patient to get full range of motion back in his shoulder.

3D printing has allowed doctors to create a totally unique prosthesis that will fit the patient’s anatomy almost perfectly.

“A few weeks before the operation, we take a CT scan of the shoulder of the patient,” explained Dr. Cornelis Visser (translation). “This produces a 3D image. From this image, the optimum position of the prosthesis is determined, and a custom-made mold is printed in the United States. Previously, the position of the prosthesis was only determined during the operation, by the naked eye.  Now I use this unique (3D printed) mold. This allows me to connect to the unique anatomy of the patient, by using the entire prosthesis.”

Once the surgery is complete, the patient’s new shoulder should feel more natural than that of traditional shoulder replacements. The prosthesis should move better, and there should be an equal distribution of force on the joint, when the shoulder is in use. Because of this equal distribution of force, the life-span of the prosthesis should last longer than traditional replacements, although there is no historical data to confirm this, since 3D printing is so relatively new for medical prostheses.

This is the first case in the Netherlands where a 3D printed shoulder replacement has been used in surgery. Previously this same technology has been used in the creation of knee prostheses.

What do you think? Will this technology become more common in the coming years? Discuss in the 3D printed shoulder prosthesis forum thread on 3DPB.com.

by  | JULY 13, 2014