3D printers are getting more and more capable every day, and we’re seeing more that can print with alternative materials, like ice.
Water may freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but it prints at about minus 8. This is just one of the insights that Pieter Sijpkes, a professor emeritus at McGill University, has discovered since cobbling together a machine that prints objects by building up ultrathin layers of ice. He and his team have printed a statue, an egg carton, a martini glass, and molds that melt conveniently away. Why ice? Well, it’s cheap and readily available, and low-cost ice models could help inventors design products more quickly. The challenge of printing with ice, besides the very cold temps necessary for the process, was building a machine that’s up to the task.