Aura Farrando December 20, 2018

From medicine to cinema, architecture to automotive, 3D printing has made its presence felt in hugely diverse fields. We collected our best 3D printing stories of the year so you can say goodbye to 2018 with some inspiration on what additive manufacturing can do for the world.


1. 3D Printing a Crown For a Marvel Queen

Marvel’s movie Black Panther was without a doubt one of the blockbusters of the year. The crown and mantle worn by Queen Ramonda in the movie, featuring a blend between African traditional designs and futuristic elements, were a result of the joint efforts of the head costume designer Ruth E. Carter, the designer Julia Koerner and the 3D printing expertise of Materialise. The outcome of this collaboration was a 3D-printed crown fit for a queen. One of our favorite 3D printing stories of 2018!

Queen Ramonda wears a 3D-printed crown in Black Panther


2. Recreating a Life-Size Mammoth Skeleton with 3D Printing

This was a “big” story for us this year. We engineered and constructed an exact 3D-printed replica of a mammoth skeleton with over 300 bones, standing 3.5 meters tall. From scanning to the assembly of the bones, a team of engineers, designers and finishing experts completed the colossal task in less than two months. And all came from our Mammoth Stereolithography printers! Hear more about the process from the project engineer Gertjan Brienen.

3D-printed Mammoth at Lier City Museum


3. A Miniature 3D-Printed City Hall of Antwerp

Also using the Mammoth Stereolithography 3D printers, in 2018 we 3D-printed a miniature of Antwerp’s City Hall. This architectural jewel will undergo an ambitious restoration project which is on display at the Paviljoen Antwerpen Morgen together with this giant 3D-printed model of the city hall.

4. A New Face, A New Life with 3D-Printed CMF Implants

The story of Carlos Askew, a 21-year-old from New Zealand born with hemi-facial macrosomia, shows how 3D printing is a life-changing technology. Thanks to 3D-printed cranio-maxillofacial implants, Carlos’ facial deformity was mitigated and he could stop hiding behind a superhero mask. This was also the first operation of this kind in the country. One of the most touching 3D printing blog posts of the year!

5. Bringing Eyewear Customization to Another Dimension

Customization and 3D-printed eyewear have always been a match made in heaven. With the new collection by the Berlin-based designer fmhofmann we could take this to another dimension. COSMOS is the first collection in the industry to combine a titanium 3D-printed hinge with 3D-printed PA frames: a unique combination not seen before. Style meets 3D Printing at its best! Discover the amazing designs on the blog.

COSMOS collection of 3D-printed eyewear by fmhofmann


6. A Historical 3D-Printed Coastline Model of WWI

Thanks to this 3D-printed model, the visitors at the Atlantikwall Museum in Raversijde can travel back in time to WWI. The faithful replica of the Belgian coastline between 1914 and 1918 includes all the details from the bunkers to the last artillery unit. Go back in time with the full article.

Historical 3D-printed coastline model of World War I


7. 3D-Printed Sculptures for the Designers of the Year

Unfold is the name of a design duo founded by Claire Warier and Dries Verbruggen that was nominated as the Belgian Designer of the Year in 2018. 3D printing has been central to their designs and we had the privilege of collaborating together on many occasions. According to the duo, 3D printing is the perfect combination of artisanal, customized creation and high-tech production methods. Admire their design on the blog.

Unfold Designer of the Year Skafaldo desk light


8. Living the life of a Software Application Engineer at Materialise

Materialise employees are behind our success as a company. And this success is built layer by layer, through the work they do every day. So, how is a day in the life of a Software Application Engineer at Materialise? We were so curious that we had to ask two of them, Maarten Brocatus and Olga Iatsenko, in this interview.

Software Application Engineers at Materialise


9. Model Cars for Nokia Bell Labs 3D-Printed in Record Time

The industrial research division of Nokia had a very specific request for this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The giant of the mobile industry wanted to set up an entire visual representation of how connected cars in a small city of the future could look like. And we went from concept to design to production of the project in just 9 days! Discover Nokia’s 3D-printed model cars on the blog.

3D-printed car models for Nokia Bell Labs at MWC 2018


10. Saving a 5-Year-Old’s Leg with 3D Printing

Daria, a 5-year-old German girl who loves to dance, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in her right leg. The size of the tumor made it very difficult to remove it while retaining enough bone to allow her to walk normally again but complex, precision surgery and 3D printing made it possible. Read this heart-warming story on the blog.


This was our recap of the stories that warmed our hearts and sparked our imaginations in 2018. If now you want to take a sneak peek into the future, read our predictions for next year in this article about the 3D printing trends that we envision for 2019.