The notion I find most seductive when it comes to 3D printing is its parallels to digital distribution. If I want something, I can find it on the Internet and zap it right into the home — my 3D printer will whip it up. We're not there yet, but we've got a little peek of that future through MakerBot Playsets.
Many of us have been waiting for the moment when 3D printers would not only be offered ready-to-use without the need of DIY assembly, but at a price comparable to a common computer. Well get excited, because that day has arrived.
There's a global shortage of hermit crab shells out there, forcing our crustacean friends to make new homes in trash such as bottles and shotgun shells. But our 3D printers are here to help!
The country is Japan. The company: REAL-f. For a whopping $4,000, REAL-f will use "3-Dimensional Photo Forms" to crank out a crazily detailed replica of your face and turn it into a mask. Because, you know — why not.
Robot Santa's going to be busy this year. With all the shiny new gadgets he needs to deliver, his elves will have it hard. You want one toy? Pfft. What you want is a whole elf workshop of your own — a place that pumps out unlimited amounts of toys — or at least, something similar. That's a 3D printer.
3D printers have been getting cheaper and better, but I've never really seen why they'd be useful. But the Origo 3D printer, which is designed to turn kids' drawings into toys, shows the potential that this tech has.
Most of the time, when you buy something, you end up getting someone else's idea of what you really want. With custom 3D printing becoming cheaper and more available, the options for customization are endless, and a new service could allow the "evolution" of new products that are perfect for you.
Michael "Skimbal" Curry has honed in on the best use ever for the budding 3D printing technology: recreating Mario Kart's much loved (or hated, depending on what side of the shell you're on) turtley projectile. The Turtle Shell Racers are small, remote controlled and oh my god my fingers don't work anymore I just want one.
We all own lots of very complicated things, from cars to laptops, and they always cost way more to fix than they should. It's definitely not because the parts actually cost that much, because as it turns out, you can just make them yourself for 10x cheaper.
3D printers have been around long enough for prices to gradually decrease enough to allow independent shops to harness them for a myriad of innovative uses. One tiny shop in Tokyo has now decided that one of those uses should be getting a head start on creating mechanical replicas of ourselves.