We've written some blogs recently about how 3D printers are starting to print miniature replicas of our own likeness and how it's turning into a new trend. Now a new 3D printing company is going even further and printing the likeness of people even smaller than ever attempted before. But the reason that's important is because printing small also means being able to eventually print small mechanical parts impossible to create through traditional manufacturing.
In the meantime, this company behind these miniatures (Zealot Miniatures) is creating miniature scans of people for miniature model designs. One of those was a recent scan of a Navy crew member that was printed so small, it could fit on the tip of your forefinger. They also print miniature figurines from the world of sci-fi and fantasy. However, Zealot Miniatures is probably setting a precedent for 3D printing we haven't talked about much. And it begs the question of how small 3D printers may be able to print in the future.
Will 3D Printers Be Able to Print at Microscopic Size Someday?
When it comes to miniatures of our own likeness, the process works in scanning our heads and then printing to a slightly smaller dimension than life-size. In some cases, the prints are exactly life-size for intention of placing on shelves for display. Regardless, complete body scans are also being done that can turn us into miniature figurines. These are stunningly lifelike and may give you chills seeing a replica of yourself at such small size.
Will we get to a point where we'll be regularly printing tinier versions of ourselves for entertainment purposes or for model set designs? While the miniatures of people aren't as detailed as ones larger, smaller prints are going to get more detailed over time.
In the realm of printing mechanical parts above, if a 3D printer can print at microscopic level, we'll have conquered the most complex manufacturing challenges. Printing at that small of level could help create electronic and mechanical items we've never seen before thanks to 3D printers printing complex parts impossible to produce by hand. They may even start printing microchips, which would place microchip manufacturing in new directions.
Long in the future, it's not impossible to think of a 3D printer going beyond microscopic level. When it gets to the quantum level, it gets quite interesting and perhaps a little chilling. Nevertheless, we're now on a new road to covering more about 3D printers printing very small as much as we cover the evolution of 3D printers creating things very, very large.