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Have a Happy 3D Printed Holiday

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a powerful and versatile technology that can be used to build wonders in an ever-expanding number of materials. Parts of all kinds are manufactured, AM medical devices aid patients in new and amazing ways, and endless prototypes roll out of 3D printers. For the majority of the year, Siemens, like most companies, puts their AM to work on serious projects, but the holidays brings out a bit of the whimsical in everyone.

Siemens’ Olaf Rehme has used an AM process generally intended to repair turbines to produce some high tech Christmas trees with print files from grabcad.com. The alloy used in Rehme’s trees is heat resistant to 1,300°C and is often found in turbine fans. Used for Christmas ornaments, the metal produces an interesting strata line that is perfect for representing the lines of a tree. 

The same alloy used for turbine fans was used to build these unique Christmas decorations. Courtesy of Siemens.

If any technology was going to be perfect for creating unique Christmas gifts, it would have to be AM. Not only can you print out your own presents (assuming you have an AM system), you can also modify each gift to be special. Even without the capability of printing your own presents, plenty of companies offer the opportunity to find the perfect gift with their catalog of 3D printable items.

Shapeways is just one of the companies that provides solutions for last minute gift problems. If your friend or loved one is an internet junkie, memes offer a rich source of inspiration for gifts. One of 2013’s most popular memes featured Grumpy Cat. If you aren’t familiar with the meme, Google will teach you all you need to know. Grumpy Cat is available as a 3D printed bust, and I suspect it wouldn’t take much work to add a Santa hat and hook to make her into a disapproving ornament.

Grumpy Cat disapproves of holiday spirit. Courtesy of Shapeways.

Happy Holidays from Rapid Ready Technology and Desktop Engineering.

Below you’ll find a short video filled with examples of holiday 3D printing.

Sources: Shapeways, Siemens

About John Newman

John Newman is a contributing editor to Desktop Engineering magazine. He covers the rapid prototyping and manufacturing beat.

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