3D Printing Exhibition: What Can 3D Printing be Used For?

What is so novel about 3D printing? And what impact does 3D printing have on individual lives? What about society? And even larger, the environment? All these questions were explored at Making A Difference / A Difference in Making exhibition at the internationally-renowned BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. Materialise has been working with curator Marta Malé-Alemany to put together this exhibition that looks at 3D printing with both the eyes of fascination and a deeper observation of its consequences.

bozar 3d printer exhibition

An Exhibition the Wonders of 3D Printers

As you can probably guess from the title, the exhibition was be split up into two main sections. One showed how 3D printing creates “a difference in making” by showing designs that experiment with this technology. Specifically, how 3D printing can make complex forms, use new materials, and create scaffolds that support natural processes such as petrification or organic growth, like these pieces:

bozar 3d printing exhibition

One_Shot.GMX by Patrick Jouin

One_Shot.MGX is one of the first applications of 3D printing for furniture design in the history of this technology. Its groundbreaking concept is still relevant today, because it explores how 3D printing can be used to manufacture entire assemblies of parts in one go, a unique characteristic of this technology. The stool is printed as a complete object with all its hinges, allowing it to twist and acquire its final form as soon as it comes out of the printer.

3d printer exhibition brussels

Escapism dress by Iris van Herpen in collaboration with Daniel Widrig and Materialise

Iris Van Herpen is known for her designs, and also for bringing 3D printing into the world of high fashion. The Escapism dress, designed in collaboration with Daniel Widrig and Materialise, explores the use of highly intricate geometries around the female body, creating an exuberant and unique garment that has been recognized worldwide.

How 3D Printing Changes our Environment, Lives, and Society

The other section of the exhibition is called “making a difference” and looked at just that: how 3D printing is making a difference in terms of the environment, individual lives, and society.

The Environment: How can 3D printing save material and energy resources and be more sustainable and environmentally responsible? For example by 3D printing structures with less material. Such as the Fix3D bike frame by James Novak.

3d printer exhibition belgium

Fix3D bike frame by James Novak

The Fix3D bike frame is a one-off, custom-made piece of sports equipment, exemplary for its minimal design and striking absence of material. It is designed using lattice structures to make it lighter and stronger than traditional bike frames, and manufactured in one piece using 3D printing. The bike evokes the critical role of 3D printing for saving energy and resources in the future of mobility. You can read more about it in our blog post here.

Individual Lives: How can customized objects and parts use personal data to provide individual solutions to unique cases? Materialise got the answer with individually printed skull implants, hearing aids, and prostheses.

3d printing exhibition brussels

Skull implant by Materialise

With the advent of 3D scanning tools and 3D printing, custom medical implants became a reality that is due to transform the lives of many individuals. Today, a patient’s anatomical data can be used to generate a 3D body model, to design a custom implant and print it in titanium. Beyond its perfect fit, this skull implant in the picture above is designed with a porous, intricate three-dimensional microstructure that facilitates natural bone growth.

Society: How can 3D printing be used to conserve our past and future heritage and revitalize lost crafts? This section also looks at its implications as a critical instrument of emancipation and social empowerment and how it can improve education.

3d printer exhibition bozar

098XYZ SHOE by Earl Stewart

The 098XYZ shoe is an example of hybridization between 3D printing technology and traditional shoe making. It illustrates how the most advanced processes of fabrication can be integrated with (and contribute to the revival of) well-established crafts.

Learn more about this exhibition at www.a-difference-in-making.com, and check out the BOZAR page to learn more about this fine arts center. If you want to learn what a 3D printer uses for printing, take a look at our material page. Do you want to turn your idea into 3D printed reality? Our online 3D printing service will help you with this task!