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3D printer spits out physical objects

Super machine creates models for everything from shoes to skyscrapers

Just when you've mastered PowerPoint, something like this comes along to burst your productive bubble.

3D printer

The ultimate project tool, as evidenced by Ministry of Tech, is a 3D printer that can produce physical objects. The printer, manufactured by Massachusetts-based Z Corp., uses CAD programs and a highly specialized inking system to construct models of everything from skyscrapers to running shoes.

But at prices in the neighborhood of $20,000, don't expect to find these machines at Office Depot on the way to work for a last-minute presentation. And even if you can afford them, they're not exactly capable of quick-turnaround Kinko's projects: It takes about an hour just to produce a 1-inch part.

(Photo: Ministry of Tech)