3D-printed marvels blow your mind in futuristic photo gallery

Our photos of 3D-printed items have been hand-selected to drop your jaw and make you think about a plastic-printed future.

Luke Westaway
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
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CNET UK trotted along to the 3D Print Show in London last week -- click through the photos above to examine some of the marvellous items crafted using this fast-advancing technology, and hit play on the video below for an investigation into the future of 3D printing.

3D printing involves sending a virtual object -- designed in 3D modelling software -- to a printer, which then builds the item layer by layer out of gloopy plastic or another material.

Although still a relatively new technology, the art of building bits and pieces out of plastic has come a long way in a short space of time. You can use 3D printers to build extremely detailed objects, and if you print several items that are designed to slot together, you can produce things that have moving parts.

At the show I got a glimpse of the plastic-printed future, from exotic shoes and buttons to elegantly designed prosthetic limbs -- scanned and virtually sculpted for an ideal fit.

The most fascinating element of the show for me, however, was checking out 3D-printed objects that had been designed by a computer algorithm. The first picture above shows a concept house, which a computer decided was the ideal shape for a human domicile. Oddly enough, it looks bizarrely organic.

The model is to scale of course, but I was told that the eventual plan is to design a home that can be printed out at full size, in sections. Best of all, to get the plans for a new house, lamp or musical instrument, you'd only have to download a file and send it to your printer.

Exciting stuff, I'm sure you'll agree. Peruse the photos above, check out the video and tell me what you'd like to see printed in plastic in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

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Why not 3D print yourself a guitar, eh?
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Check out these 3D-printed bits and bobs. Not bad, but brace yourself -- this tech has come a long way.
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3D-printed boots, anyone?
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That guitar a few slides back? Here's another.
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And a 3D-printed drumstick, just for good measure.
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Buttons. Y'know, for fashion.
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No more dragon your heels! (I'll get me coat.)
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3D printing is bringing chainmail back at last!
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We don't know what this is, but we know it's pretty cool, and that it's made of plastic.
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Creepy 3D-printed dolls? No thanks.
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A 3D-printed bikini, which doesn't look too comfortable.
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The curves on this printed hand are impressive...
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This is a 3D-printed concept house that -- amazingly -- was designed by a computer algorithm. It's the house of the future, folks!
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Our human-designed domiciles look a little rubbish by comparison.
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Or you could just use the technology to print toys.
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This is Iron Man's mask and gauntlet. We wanted to put them on, but the people at the show didn't seem keen.
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Eesh! This is called using technology for evil.
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This 3D-printed octopus rocks our socks.
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Print yourself a QR code maybe?
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This room full of cameras takes a 3D photo of whoever's stood inside.
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And here's the result! I was too tall, so the top of my head is missing.
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We don't know exactly what's being printed here, but we like the futuristic blue glow.
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These shoes have a rubbery feel to them.
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This 3D print comes from a scan...
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...indeed, the medical possibilities of 3D printing are impressive. Prosthetics can be moulded for a precise fit.
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Of course, we could also see progress in toy technology.
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Finally, here's a star! Thanks for reading folks, be sure to watch the video for more 3D-printed miracles.

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