As I explored in this post, while it's possible to print a working firearm component with a 3D printer, it's not exactly the best way to create such a component. Still, more people might experiment with the idea as 3D printers become more common. And as 3D-printing technology develops alongside that growth, so will the popularity of 3D-printing services--companies that print objects for you based on plans you submit.… Read more
We awarded MakerBot Industries' Replicator a Best of CES award in the emerging tech category.
It's an exciting product. That doesn't mean you should go out and buy one.
Are you a product designer, or a mechanical engineer? Do you see yourself starting a small business selling some doo-dad? Maybe you're a passionate hobbyist, a crafter, or an artist. If any of those things describe your interests, the Replicator may be a good fit.
Visionaries are already coming up with inspiring uses for 3D printers. Print a new ear? It could happen. Build custom prosthetics? It's on the to-do list. How about re-creating yourself in miniature? You don't have to wait for that one. 3D printing start-up Sculpteo generates customized figurines based on your face. All it takes is two photos and $75.
Here's the process. Pick a custom body, or choose from a theme such as "rugby" or "wedding." Choose an expression: smile, grimace, frown, whatever. It's up to you. Upload a front and side shot of your head. An anonymous artist somewhere goes to work to create a digital model. You approve it. Sculpteo prints it out of plastic on one of its fancy 3D printers, colors it in, and mails it to you.
The result is a mini-you that looks like it was sculpted by an elf for the world's smallest waxwork museum. It's both compelling and unsettling at the same time, like you've just stepped into a Lilliputian version of the uncanny valley. … Read more