Gaming

Drive a 3D-printed car with your smartphone

A radio-controlled car, that is, one you can either print at home or pick up from a local shop. Kits start at $40.

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Print a car, drive a car. (On a small scale, that is.) 3DRacers

Who says you can't 3D-print anything fun?

3DRacers bills itself as "a racing game you can print," referring to a combination of a custom car body, an Arduino-powered logic board, and an app-based controller.

It works like this: You buy the logic board, then design, print and assemble your vehicle.

The design part starts with an online editor, which lets you choose a body style (tank, pickup, Corvette, etc.) and color, then add or tweak any number of accents: tires, spoilers, bumpers, and so on, again in your choice of colors.

Think Pinewood Derby, with plastic instead of wood and a CAD program instead of a saw:

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I wish I could customize real cars this way. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

When you're done, you can download the necessary files to 3D-print all the parts at home. That's assuming you own a 3D printer, of course -- if you don't, you can send your design to 3D Hubs, which has some 10,000 locations globally.

Once you've got your parts, you put everything together (including the logic board), fire up the app, and get racing. The app aims to be more than just a controller; it will offer gaming elements like a lap counter, power-ups, battle mode, and so on.

Sound cool? Hope you're patient: 3DRacers is currently seeking funding on Indiegogo, and although all signs point to the developer hitting his $25,000 goal, kits aren't scheduled to ship until September.

A few early-bird bare-bones kits are still available for $39, a price that includes everything except actual 3D printing. If you need that as well, the $65 option includes printing of your car via 3D Hubs. If you want a fancy roll-up racetrack mat, that'll cost you another $129.

With so much of this project falling under the banner of open-source, it's not a stretch to say you could accomplish much the same thing on your own -- and probably before September. Your thoughts?