1. RAF Tornado fighter jet parts
Early this year, BAE Systems said that British fighter jets had flown with the first time with components made using 3D printing technology. Its engineers are making parts for four squadrons of Tornado GR4 aircraft, with the aim of saving ￡1.2m of maintenance and service costs over the next four years.
2. Arms for children
A project using 3D printers to make low-cost prosthetic limbs for amputees, including Sudanese bomb-blast victim Daniel Omar. But this is just one of the stories emerging: see also 3Ders' piece on a four-year old called Hannah, with a condition called arthrogryposis that limits her ability to lift her arms unaided, but who now has a Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX for short) to help, made using 3D printing.
3. Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium
Manchester-based company Hobs' business is based around working with architects, engineers and other creatives to use 3D printing as part of their work, but to show off its capabilities, the company 3D printed models of the city's two football stadia – Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium.The models were estimated to be worth ￡1,000 each.
4. Unborn babies
Not actually as creepy as it sounds. This is more an extension of the 4D ultrasound images of babies in the womb that have become more popular in recent years.The campaign last year, raising $1,225 of its $15,000 goal. Even so, its website is up and running, offering eight-inch "custom lifesize baby" models for $800 a pop.
5. Super Bowl shoe cleats
Expect to see a number of big brands launching 3D printing projects this year – part R&D and part PR campaigns. Nike is one example: it's showing off a training shoe called the Vapor Carbon Elite Cleat for this year's Super Bowl, with a 3D-printed nylon base and cleats – the latter based on the existing Vapor Laser Talon, which was unveiled a year ago.