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Sci-Tech

A skull, a flipper and a rocket car: A year in 3D printing

While there were many technological advances in 2014, Crave's Michael Franco believes the year belongs to 3D printing. Here's why.

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This car, which will reach speeds of up to 1,000mph, was made possible, in part, by 3D printing. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

By all accounts, it looks like 2015 will be The Year of the Wearable. So then, let me propose a nickname for 2014: The Year of 3D Printing.

In the 350-plus days that have passed us by, 3D printing has gone from something engineering students used in their secret collegiate labs to something pretty much anyone can use by walking into their neighborhood Staples. The technology has impacted a wide range of industries, from aerospace to architecture, and has been used to make high-fashion dresses, human skull replicas and much more.

Thanks to simplified and more affordable 3D printers, like the Makerbot Replicator Mini and the XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 AiO , the technology is finding its way onto desktops in homes around the world, which means we can expect to see a lot more projects -- both serious and silly -- in the new year. For now though, join us as we take a look back at how 3D printing "shaped" 2014 by viewing our favorite multidimensional picks in 10 categories.