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3D Printing LEGO

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Comments

  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Actually, this technology seems very promising. Putting aside cost and practicality considerations, the biggest hurdle to effectively replacing a Lego brick right now is the resolution of the printers. You don't get a glossy finish because the layers being put down are big enough so that you see striations. You can get around this maybe with a subtractive finishing step, but then it's not a simple print out. Of course you also want to make sure you material properties match all the current characteristics of Lego bricks. Many of the current technologies are compatible with ABS, so that shouldn't be too hard in the long run.

    As for cost and practicality, it's important to note that additive manufacturing has a completely different cost profile than traditional manufacturing. Your per item costs are higher, but your tooling costs are basically nothing. The design process is very different too and design costs are lower. It explains why one process is used over another. It's perfect for prototypes, where you're only doing one item and changes are expected.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,929

    Actually, this technology seems very promising. Putting aside cost and practicality considerations, the biggest hurdle to effectively replacing a Lego brick right now is the resolution of the printers. You don't get a glossy finish because the layers being put down are big enough so that you see striations.

    I think LFT mentioned it earlier, professional printers are getting there already with the quality. Quality home printers I'm sure will come. I remember the quality of my old Epson MX-80 dot matrix printer. It didn't take that long before that was replaced by inkjet and laser quality printing.

    I agree that these are really for one offs though. Mass production runs of 10000s parts will continue to use existing molding technology.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Yes... 3D printers the size of rooms already are at "laser printer" quality... The $1,299 home printers are still the rough cut versions, but they are coming.

    I remember having an Epson FX-85 NLQ 9-pin dot matrix printer... NLQ stood for Near Letter Quality, it was about 180dpi, but that was only using two passes over every letter. Slow, loud, and the quality was ok, but nothing special. Actually, it was amazing for a $500 printer in 1984! :)

    But today, for $50, you can buy a 600dpi laser printer that is quiet, fast, and prints 50 times as fast, for 10% of the price, not even inflation adjusted, from 30 years ago.

    Adjusting for inflation, the printer today is basically free. :)
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    A bunch of engineers are putting together a 3D printer in my office from parts. It's driven by an arduino and parts used in the printer are themselves made by the same printer design - the idea is once you have one you can make the parts for others.
    It's crude but it works. I think the build cost was around 500 euro. Don't know if it works yet...
  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272
    edited November 2012
    richo said:


    Apart from anything else, how are we meant to be super heating plastic in our own house to 232 degrees celsius.

    How on earth will we ever have home typesetting when the Linotype machine requires heating the slugs to 550 degrees Fahrenheit?

    If we assume that the future of rapid prototyping isn't an injection molding type of process, then the possibilities are wide open.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Not to menition, the heat inside a laser printer can get up to 200 degrees C, so that isn't too far off from 232.
  • richoricho Member Posts: 3,830
    I guess I was just trying to explain that it won't be lego, so to speak. It will be bricks, that look similar, but have different texture, properties and strength, at least for the immediate future. It's therefore not 3D printing of Lego.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Fair enough... but it is only a matter of time before you can reproduce LEGO perfectly in your home, right down to the logo on the top of the bricks.

    It probably wont be in 10 years, but I'll bet it is within 30 years.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    edited November 2012
    Pretty much bad news for fans of Lego. You think it's bad now when you find Megabloks or Chinese-manufactured Lego in a purchase....
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    Interesting read you guys, and I have seen the MakerBot in action over here as one of my client who teaches Robotics using LEGO Education products have 2 of these 3D printers. Last visit to this client they were making a cool little robot dude to give out in a goodie bag as they were celebrating a students birthday :)
  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272
    If if you optimistically assume that "LEGO" can be flawlessly produced in the future using home technology, it isn't likely that bricks produced that way will be cost competitive compared to mass produced bricks. It's the same as how home printing isn't cost competitive with commercial printing once you reach some bulk quantity.

    The real attraction of home production would be to reproduce broken, lost, or rare parts. Or to produce parts that LEGO has never made.

    The social issues of rapid prototyping won't be worked out for many years. I just hope we don't see the technology restricted or controlled in any way whatsoever.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ I agree with you... I fully believe that perfect copies will be able to be made in the home in the future, but you're right, the cost will not compete with large scale production.

    But if you are just needing light bley mast riggings to finish your bricklinked UCS Falcon, printing them at home, even at a cost of $5 each, would be very reasonable indeed.

    That is the sort of use for this technology that I see. You will be able to maintain and repair many more things, rather than throw them away.

    My hope, is that we'd move back to quality manufacturing with the idea that things should last, rather than be disposable. If the battery cover breaks on your kids toy, just manufacture a new one, right at home. Missing a power cable for a toy? Make a new one. Clasp break on a watch, make a new one...

    The other way this can be useful is custom one-off items. Lets say I want a coffee mug with my family's image on it. Well, we can take a 3D picture of my family, then have a 3D raised surface image of my family made right into the mug. Doing that isn't reasonable for mass manafacturing, but I can make 1 of them in my house for a reasonable price (say $25), then I'm happy with that.

    Don't like that iPad in black or white? Make one in red, or purple, or (my daughter would love this!) rainbow! :)
  • mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843
    As much as I love Lego: if a 3D printer gave me the choice of either printing out the bricks to build a starship/castle/car/... model with, or directly print my CAD-created starship/castle/car/... model, I know what I'd choose. ;)

    That, and not people printing their own bricks, is what should worry Lego.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Yes, but keep in mind that very few people have the skills to design such a thing.

    LEGO has no protection in terms of patents or other process protection, anyone can copy the bricks.

    LEGO has 2 big things going for them. Licenses and design quality.

    Look at 10189 Taj Mahal. It is a beautiful building, I sure couldn't design that. I find it amazing that generic basic bricks can make that.

    That is what LEGO is really getting paid for, quality designs.

    As ofr liceneses, those come and go, but lets face it, most of us at one point or another love our ability to have a proper X-Wing or Black Pearl. Not every of course, but clearly a lot of people.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    ^ Eh, I'd argue the actual bricks are one of the things they have going for them. I wouldn't be buying the bricks if they we're such a high quality product. If they stopped making Lego bricks, there currently is no competitor brand that has a good enough quality for me to switch to. I simply wouldn't buy plastic bricks anymore. I don't think I'm alone in this, and if so, that means the actual bricks are one of the things going for them.

    Of course the designs and licenses are good too, just like you say.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Yes, you are correct, but that can be copied by anyone who wants to spend the money to do so.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Designs can be copied too. Enlighten does it all the time. I'm sure you could also hire a talented MOCer to custom design sets for you.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    Designs can be copied too. Enlighten does it all the time. I'm sure you could also hire a talented MOCer to custom design sets for you.

    Designs cannot be legally copied as they are covered by copyright, perfect quality plastic building bricks can be since the patents are expired.

    That is my point, nothing stops Kre-O or Megabloks from having LEGO quality, other than money. LEGO does not hold a monopoly on quality ABS injection molding.
  • stoneboistoneboi Member Posts: 42
    Good for making hard to find / expensive elements if the quality ever reaches that of Lego. Discontinued sets will be within reach !!
    SirKevbags
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    stoneboi said:

    Good for making hard to find / expensive elements if the quality ever reaches that of Lego. Discontinued sets will be within reach !!

    I don't know what the laws in the EU are, but my understanding of IP law in the USA is that you can make personal copies of IP for personal use, so long as you do not give them away or sell them.

    While it would be illegal to make copies of LEGO designs and sell them, I don't think it would be illegal to make a copy for yourself. Even less so to simply copy something like the dish to the UCS Falcon and the mast rigging that has gotten so expensive.

    It would kill much of the Bricklink market, that's for sure. I imagine that at some point, even if the parts are 20-50 cents each to make, once you add shipping on there, you might as well roll your own. The market for bulk bricks of basic designs might remain, 1x2 plates, 2x2 plates, 1x2 bricks, that sort of thing, but for the 16 stud long technic beams and other odd parts that are $1 or more each?

    This will change everything. :)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,929
    edited November 2012
    I reckon you are likely to be able to tell the difference between printed and real lego anyway. From the feel, the colour, the shininess, the weight / density of the piece, the clutch.

    From what I have seen, the 3D objects produced now are in certain colours only. You cannot just blend red and blue in different quantities to make shades of purple like an inkjet printer. If you cannot buy the official lego colour ABS then how will you colour match?

    Also being able to make exact replicas will mean needing the exact dimensions of lego parts to construct the electronic model for the printer. If you are 5% too thin the part will be more flexible than the real part.

    I can understand it for making novel bricks such as different types of SNOTS (if I want studs on three sides only, or one stud only on a 2x1 then why not?) and so on. I doubt I would be happy with a fake brick that exists already. If you accept something like a faked 16 stud technic brick, then why not just glue two 8's together? And drill a hole in the middle if you need that one.
  • mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843
    edited November 2012

    Yes, but keep in mind that very few people have the skills to design such a thing.

    Yes, true. What I am trying to point out is that once we can print out the parts we need to build let's say the Taj Mahal, then some of us (not all) will pause and say, "Hey wait, why shouldn't I print out the whole Taj Mahal in one piece from a downloaded file?" And some will go one step further and say, "Hey wait, why shouldn't I model the Taj Mahal myself in 3D in the computer instead of replicating it with bricks in an imperfect angled representation?"

    At least I strongly suspect that if I had a 3D printer, I wouldn't use it to print Lego parts for MOCs. I would use it to print out things I otherwise would (or better, couldn't) MOC.

    Reminds me somewhat of the advent of photography and the impact it had on painting both as craft and art.

    That is my point, nothing stops Kre-O or Megabloks from having LEGO quality, other than money. LEGO does not hold a monopoly on quality ABS injection molding.

    As an additional thought: I expect Lego to hold patents on injection molding tools/processes that makes it (legally) impossible for competitors to just copy Lego's production approach.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    @LegoFanTexas Ideas do not get copyright protection. If you're a corporation you can't legally copy a model brick for brick, but you can certainly take inspiration. Furthermore, I don't see what would stop an individual from copying a design for private use. More importantly, you didn't really address why you think spending money can fix the manufacturing issue but not the design issue.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    @LegoFanTexas Ideas do not get copyright protection. If you're a corporation you can't legally copy a model brick for brick, but you can certainly take inspiration. Furthermore, I don't see what would stop an individual from copying a design for private use. More importantly, you didn't really address why you think spending money can fix the manufacturing issue but not the design issue.

    Ideas and design are two different things.

    The design of UCS Falcon is copyrighted, the idea of a space ship made out of bricks is not.

    I suspect we're having a word usage or communication issue more than anything else here.

    By design, I mean the specific design of a specific model, not the general idea of something.

    For example, the Taj Mahal, as done in 10189, is copyrighted, you can't come out with another set just like it, with the same instructions and the bricks in the same place. But you could make another Taj Mahal, using a different design, with a different size or layout.

    Does that make more sense?

    --------------

    As for fixing the manufacturing issue... LEGO does not hold any patents that I know of on plastic ABS injection moulding, if they did, they wouldn't have to actually sell plastic bricks, they would be collecting royalties from everyone on Earth. That technology is 50 years old, everyone knows how to do it at this point. LEGO just does it very well, but they aren't the only ones.

    Megablock and Kre-O simply don't want to spend the money required to produce that level of quality, I'm sure it is more expensive to make precision moulds than it is to make cheap ones.

    Keep in mind that the iPad and iPhone are made in China, and are very well made. Not everything made in China is junk, just the cheap stuff is junk. They are perfectly able to make quality, if you're willing to pay for it.
  • mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843


    That technology is 50 years old, everyone knows how to do it at this point. LEGO just does it very well, but they aren't the only ones.


    I'd have expected there to be manufacturing improvements, new tools etc. in the last 50 years or so.
    But it seems you're right, couldn't find any manufacturing-related patents registered for Lego A/S at the USPTO other than for automatically creating manuals and plastic-metal connections.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Thanks for the info. That was my understanding, but always nice to have a second set of eyes on it.

    Something that I think should not be overlooked is quality control. From the chemecial mix that goes into the plastic, to the temp during injection, to the precision of the mold to the level of checks after the parts are made.

    All of that costs money, but it makes LEGO what it is. Plastic injection molds can only be used so many times before they wear out. LEGO probably replaces their molds sooner than the other companies to ensure consistent cluch power. Likewise, they probably use more expensive plastic base, gives them a more consistent end product.

    That is what I think anyway. :)
  • plantmanplantman Member Posts: 97
    edited November 2012
    I have used a 3d printer in making prototype models when I was in college - it wont make convincing Lego pieces at this point in time (judging off the machine I used). You would not have the surface finish or high enough precision to make excellent snap fits consistantly. The plastic used is also not as rigid as Lego uses (at least not what I had available). Although there are new units that take up a little more space than a traditional printer and stand, and I bet there are people that could afford a home unit just to play around with, I think time will solve all the issues listed and someday some lucky people will be printing off whole sets at home. They are faster than you think and you could program in a few dozen bricks at a time, even in multiple colors. Generating all the brick models would be a challange, but I'm sure file sharing sites would eliminate that problem. As for this technology taking over, remember that the advent of the printer didn't put bookstores out of business...
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    plantman said:

    As for this technology taking over, remember that the advent of the printer didn't put bookstores out of business...

    No, but ebooks probably will end up doing that job... :)

    Home printers also haven't put printing shops out of business either, what happened is their quality, speed, and options just kept growing.

    It is amazing to watch a modern high speed digital printer at work, it can print, fold, bind, staple, hole punch, all in one go and spit out finished product without a human touching anything. You can even have it use different paper at different points, glossy color for a cover and inserts, matte paper for the text, everything.

    Just wait, in 5 years FedEx Office might well have a 3D printer, you can order up jobs online and pick them up in the store, or have FedEx deliver them to your house. :)
  • Dread_PirateDread_Pirate Member Posts: 184
    I have had the chance to play with a 3D printer. One of the advantages of having a Father that is a machinist. The company he worked for built artificial limbs and digits. They would prototype parts on the 3d printer before going to CNC and making the parts out of stainless or titanium. The small printer they had could fit in most home offices and only requires 3d CAD drawings and minimal machinist skills to run. The problem with 3D printing is not making the technology available it is making the technology afordable.

    Injection molding can also be done at home quite simply but making the molds to use with the machine is going to require a machine shop and that is going to cost you big $$$$

    Vacuum forming can be done on home made forming machines by some one with average carpentry skills and creating the forms can also be done with wood and average skills. Vacuum forming will not work for Lego tho.

    Another technology that is becoming very afordable very fast for the hobbiest is CNC Mills. These machines are around a grand and use your PC as the computer interface. Depending on the software you may be able to create your own parts from 3D drawings or you may have to map out each cut via X,Y,Z coordinates. Also these do require above average machinist skills to use.

  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    Disney are developing some amazing stuff with 3D printed LED lights... let's hope TLG aren't too far behind. The future of light bricks... and more
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eTeXTbXA6-Y#at=185
    MinifigsMeMorkManmathew
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    The future of everything is this... It will take time to become affordable and practical at a large scale, but ultimately everything is made from elements...

    It is only a matter of time.
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USA.Member Posts: 885
    edited July 2013
    Thankfully, I work for a company that is [getting even more] on board with 3D printing. Some new DMLS equipment arrives soon. Since my department doles out the yearly budgets, they play nice with me... and now I'm in a unique position to be [hopefully] giving them suggestions of what to print first with it. Just as a "test" case or two or three...
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/3d-printing-new-materieals,news-17375.html

    3D printing holds the promise to transform the world in ways not yet imagined. But mention 3D printing to someone, and their first thought will probably be of a toy or rough prototype. And why not? With few exceptions, the 3D-printed objects accessible to most people are made out of plastic.

    Most 3D printers today work by taking a digital file depicting a three-dimensional object, "slicing" it into horizontal layers, and then laying down each layer by extruding material. Plastics like PLA (polylactic acid, derived from corn and used in objects like soft-drink cups) and ABS (the same plastic used to make LEGO bricks) are often the materials of choice.

    -------

    You can read the whole thing if you want, but consider for a minute that they can now print in metal, glass, wood, and even salt...

    I said it months ago, I said it last year, I'll say it again...

    The days of far away mass manufacturing may well be doomed, the day is likely coming when you pay a "licence fee" to print everything you need at home, or close to your home (think Kinkos or OfficeMax).

    Or maybe Walmart gets into this and installs a 3D printer in the back of each store, they can mass manufacture the common goods and print hundreds of thousands of custom items.
    tedward
  • pillpodpillpod Member Posts: 273
    It'll be a while before a 3D printer can mass produce anything. Printing hundreds of thousands of items would take years.

    But I get what you're saying. It could be like the little photo centers that Walmart, Walgreens, and the other stores have. Bring your SD card, upload your file, and leave with your item at a low cost. Mass production isn't what these can do (right now). They're very good for prototypes but not actual manufacturing; they won't beat injection molding, at least on a quality.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    They don't beat injection molding today... they will at some point. :)

    And "a while" is an interesting term.

    20 years ago, the cost of color laser printers was out of this world. Today? Next to nothing.

    Give it 20 years, our children of today will wonder how we survived without it. :)
  • pillpodpillpod Member Posts: 273
    I used "a while" because I don't have specific number or citation to back anything up. And if 20 years is what you think it'll take to get mass production out of a 3D printer, I would consider that "a while."
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    :) I was not suggesting this would happen tomorrow, or next year... but a surprising number of things we already use today are 3D printed.

    There is a part in the F35 JSF that is 3D printed, Audiovox uses 3D printing for buttons in their car DVD players, etc.

    It will grow and grow until we all wake up one day and ask how we ever lived without it.

    Just like the Internet and cell phones today. When I was growing up, neither existed (not really, not for normal people), now it is a central part of life.

    And that happened in just 20 years. (the World Wide Web is 20 years old this year)
  • pillpodpillpod Member Posts: 273
    Agreed. It'll happen. Like you mentioned before, at least for the coming few years, these 3D printers will thrive in smaller, niche areas like minor replacement parts.
    LegoFanTexas
  • princedravenprincedraven Essex, UKMember Posts: 3,768
    I was at a 3D printing/Lego event last night, unfortunately I had to dash due to a work emergency, but what I saw was pretty impressive, they believe we are looking at 2-3 years before it will become seriously mainstream.
    A lot of the uses I have seen are very 'gimicky' at this stage but being able to buy 3d items via the web to print at home is a nice idea, imagine you desperately need that 1x4 hinge plate in red, buy the 3D plans, pop in some red ABS (or whatever) and 10 mins later you are sorted.
    Printing food and human tissue just sounds bizarre, can't believe they have done stuff like that already...
  • pillpodpillpod Member Posts: 273
    Just look at it now...

    In 5 years we can have a debate on whether true lego fans use home printed bricks or not.
    tedwardkhmellymelpharmjodLegoFanTexasjasor
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Replicators, here we come! :)

    It is quite possible that once we figure out our power problems, this may well be the enabling technology to finally solve a lot of our ongoing human problems.

    Fusion power, combined with replicators that turn base materials into... anything... may well change humanity in ways we can only imagine...

    BTW, lest anyone think that fusion power is a pipe dream that we'll never see, progress continues to be made:

    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/global-observer/building-the-worlds-largest-nuclear-fusion-reactor/10646

    Right now, an 18 Billion Euro fusion reactor is being constructed in France as we speak. The goal is to get 10 times the power out as is put in, and it will be clean power.

    If they can make it work, that will change the world.
    pharmjod
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    A lot of the uses I have seen are very 'gimicky' at this stage but being able to buy 3d items via the web to print at home is a nice idea, imagine you desperately need that 1x4 hinge plate in red, buy the 3D plans, pop in some red ABS (or whatever) and 10 mins later you are sorted.
    Printing food and human tissue just sounds bizarre, can't believe they have done stuff like that already...

    It is getting better, fast...

    http://blog.stratasys.com/2012/05/30/craziest-3d-printed-part-ever/

    Take a look at the detail in this image, this was 3D printed at a resolution of 16 microns. Look at the lines on the fingers, then the detail in the 3D printed part, make up of clear and black material.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098


    Printing food and human tissue just sounds bizarre, can't believe they have done stuff like that already...

    This to me is much more exciting than printing ABS bricks. Imagine the possibilities... Someday, probably not in our lifetime, but within a few hundred years we will be able to extend human life beyond our current bodies using 3D replication processes. It's feasible that once the human mind is mapped that it too could be "replicated" and that the aging process will be no different than say upgrading to a new car. Trade in your old body for a new one. Of course there are ramifications or negative consequences to this, but it's interesting to think about.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    Those Disney, 3D printed optical "bricks" are pretty nifty. I can see that possibly being the future of 'Holographic Displays'. Makes standard Lego bricks seem primitive (which they are).
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    mathew said:


    Printing food and human tissue just sounds bizarre, can't believe they have done stuff like that already...

    This to me is much more exciting than printing ABS bricks. Imagine the possibilities... Someday, probably not in our lifetime, but within a few hundred years we will be able to extend human life beyond our current bodies using 3D replication processes. It's feasible that once the human mind is mapped that it too could be "replicated" and that the aging process will be no different than say upgrading to a new car. Trade in your old body for a new one. Of course there are ramifications or negative consequences to this, but it's interesting to think about.
    I can see that. Have you ever seen The Island. I imagine a scenario like that will happen before 3D printing a human body or part.

  • jdylakjdylak Member Posts: 281
    I'll keep my body and parts, I just want someone to print me some straight monorail track.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Reminds me also of The Fifth Element.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    3D printing is good for building non-organic objects. But the complexity involved in biological cells requires much more advanced techniques found in Regenerative Medicine to create for example a bladder or skin (both already accomplished and implanted in humans). We are only a few decades away from hitting commercial scale on this front, but the field is still in infancy R&D phases. This is where I will end my career in science, pushing the boundaries of regenerative medicine.
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    Advancing 3D printing exponentially, all one has to do is find a viable military contract like anything else. Then, we'll see it trickle down to consumer level about 7-10 years later. ;)
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950

    3D printing is good for building non-organic objects. But the complexity involved in biological cells requires much more advanced techniques found in Regenerative Medicine to create for example a bladder or skin (both already accomplished and implanted in humans). We are only a few decades away from hitting commercial scale on this front, but the field is still in infancy R&D phases. This is where I will end my career in science, pushing the boundaries of regenerative medicine.

    True, but like most (all?) technologies, there will be advancements as it is used. The easier things will happen first, then the more complex. That said, I totally see a printed bladder as a reality someday, but we're going to see printed Lego bricks first.
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