Iron Man mask, cat skeletons star at London 3D-printer show

CNET UK takes to the floor of the 2012 3D Printshow London to examine trinkets, prosthetic limbs, and even whole houses crafted by 3D printers.

The future is made of plastic and is being gradually spit out of a 3D printer. CNET UK convention center veteran Luke Westaway took to the floor of the 3D Printshow London 2012 on Friday to examine trinkets, musical instruments, and even replica cat skeletons scanned from mummified remains that have been crafted by these marvelous making machines. Hit play on the video above to see them in action.

3D printers work by taking data from a virtual, computer-designed model and building them slice by slice into three-dimensional objects, which can even feature moving parts. Earlier this year, a U.S. designer created a working 3D phone glove that can be printed, but that barely scratches the surface of what these creator bots are able to achieve.

Experts from industries as diverse as fashion, movie production, and architecture are taking advantage of the new technology to assist them creatively. That doesn't necessarily mean we'll all be wearing clothes and shoes melded from spools of plastic in the future, but the speed and relative low cost of printing has significantly simplified the process for sampling and testing new designs.

That said, Luke did speak to one jewelry designer who showed him a ring built by a 3D printer that had mounted upon it a human hand grasping a fistful of real human hair. Freaky!

Even more impressive are the prosthetic limbs created by the printers , which achieve a remarkable standard of symmetry and functionality for wearers, as body parts are scanned in and replicated with complete precision.

Some designers have even managed to create algorithms that allow computers to design objects themselves with no human input. Architects can consider themselves safe for now as the algorithms still need work and significant curating, but our houses of the future could easily be designed and created entirely by machines.

This isn't to say 3D printers are just for manufacturers and architects though; earlier this year we went hands-on with the MakerBot Replicator at CES in Las Vegas. At $1,999, it might set you back a pretty penny, but it will allow you to print your own designs at home. Hit play on the video below to see it in action.

This story originally appeared on CNET UK .

 

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