Printing the Finger
After Christian Call suffered an injury on the job and lost the tip of his right index finger, he was determined to find a prosthetic. "Initially I was trying to acquire a life-like prosthetic, but none of them actually worked and the price was out of reach," he told Crave. A few years ago, Call might have simply been out of luck, but advances in consumer 3D printers put him on the path to finding a solution.
Call's journey to create a fingertip started on YouTube. He was browsing and came across a video of a massive 3D printer cranking out plastic wrenches. That got him started on a search for a 3D printer of his own. "I had to have a 3D printer," he said. "I felt that with a 3D printer I could explore a whole new level of creativeness."
Desktop publishing was revolutionary in its day, but we look back now and laugh at the cheesy graphics and endless fonts people were producing with Brøderbund's Print Shop on Apple IIs outputting to dot-martix printers. Macs armed with laser printers brought truly professional results a short while later, to the few who could afford all that bleeding-edge equipment. Inkjets allowed almost anyone to produce impressive looking results from much improved hardware and software. Early inkjet models were pricey, but prices soon dropped to virtually nothing -- just in time for virtual publishing to begin a new revolution.
3D printing isn't much past the dot-matrix phase. We're just getting started.