In the big scheme of things this might not be on the top ten list of most important uses of 3D printing, however, it does represent an important advancement. Using a soft material similar to rubber, Richard Clarkson from Victoria University of Wellington was able to print an inflatable flower that appears to bloom.
You can pump air into inner chambers of the material, and the flower appears to open up, reveling the colorful inside of the flower. This may appear simple at first glance, but as far as I can tell, it is the first time 3D printed items can be inflated like this, resulting in movement.
Opening New Doors
This type of advancement means that as it is perfected, it will be possible to print off custom party balloons, for example, which are the exact shape and size that you want them. More importantly, it may be possible to print off inflatable medical equipment that can be used for a wide variety of things. Also, printing off tires for bikes, cars and any number of things seems like it wouldn’t be a significant step forward.
In addition to bringing the ability of inflation to the table, this little flower shows how it is possible to use 3D printing with more advanced movement capabilities. As the flower is inflated, the flower petals spread out naturally, and the middle becomes more prominent. There are many possible applications for this type of thing in a wide variety of industries.
The big question, however, remains whether or not your wife will accept printed flowers as an apology, or if it will just get you in more hot water.