3D: printing the future

9 Oct 2013 — 9 Jul 2014 at the Science Museum in London, United Kingdom

17 APRIL 2014
Horse Marionette posed, credit Science Museum Michaella Janse Van Vurren
Horse Marionette posed, credit Science Museum Michaella Janse Van Vurren

Replacement body organs, artworks, aeroplane parts and a music box are among over 600 3D printed objects on display in 3D: printing the future – a new free exhibition at the Science Museum.

The exhibition opened to the public on Wednesday 9 October and will run for 9 months.

The increasing availability and decreasing cost of 3D printing technology has led to an explosion of creativity among innovators, from big businesses and the medical industry through to small start-ups, students, hackers and artists. This exhibition will explore the rapidly evolving field of 3D printing and its growing impact on society.

Suzy Antoniw, Exhibition Leader, Science Museum said, “3D printing enables engineers and designers to manufacture things they couldn’t make with traditional methods. Every week we learn about new ways in which people from across society are capitalising on the technology to realise their ideas and enrich people’s lives. Our exhibition aims to shine a light on the latest developments and discuss where the technology may take us in future.”

3D: printing the future will take visitors on a journey through three key sectors in which the technology is driving innovation – industry, medicine and small-scale projects and businesses.

Stories featured in the exhibition will include:

  • The new ways in which the medical industry is researching 3D printing to fix our bodies by creating replacement parts, from teeth to ears and even simple organs.
  • A glimpse into a medical future where doctors may be able to use 3D printing technology to create tablets that can be tailored to each patient’s needs.
  • How engineers are using 3D printing to create lighter and more efficient parts for aeroplanes and space probes – potentially saving airlines costs for fuel and materials.
  • Carpenter Richard Van As and prop-maker Ivan Owen collaborated 10,000 miles apart to make a 3D printed mechanical hand, following an accident in which Van As lost four fingers. They made the designs for the “Robohand” freely available to anyone online; it has been downloaded more than 27,000 times from MakerBot’s Thingiverse.com.
  • An artwork - Inversive Embodiment by Tobias Klein – a sculptural piece printed in nylon using data from MRI scans of Tobias Klein’s own body and the iconic structure of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The exhibition will also feature a number of miniature 3D printed figures created from 3D scans of visitors who took part in workshops at the museum during the summer holidays. These workshops were part of a whole summer of 3D themed activities at the Science Museum between 25 July and 1 September.

3D: printing the future is a free exhibition and will run in the Antenna gallery at the Science Museum for 9 months from 9 October 2013.

The exhibition is supported by Principal Funder EADS, Major Funders Renishaw, the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPRSC) and the Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) based at The University of Nottingham.