From the moment Leeloo was reprinted in the The Fifth Element, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of 3D Printers. Rebuilding organics from the ground up is mind-bending and still somewhat of a pipe-dream for fans of science fiction. I say somewhat because it’s beginning to become a reality, scientists have begun to combine 3D printing with stem-cells.
I’ve worked with CNC machining which is a subtractive process involving sharp blades spinning at high speeds, messy coolants, metal shards flying in every direction, extremely high noise levels, and the danger of the piece you’re working on slipping out of the vice and punching a hole in something. Manufacturing, for good reason, is moving towards 3D printing, an additive manufacturing process, building parts one paper-thin slice at a time.
If you don’t want to bother with buying a printer that might take up valuable space or you’d just rather skip straight to the best version of a 3D printout — Shapeways, the Amazon.com of 3D printing, might be your best option.