3D Printers

November 20, 2012

3D Figure Printing 3D Figure Printing

By Koseli.

Have you heard of 3D printers? They’ve been around since the 1980s but in recent years they’ve sized down and plummeted in price, sparking a surge in mass appeal. And when I see what they make, I gasp!

How they work is basically this: First, you use 3D software to create a model on your computer. It could be anything — a replacement part for your broken toaster, a bracelet, or even you as a little toy! Then the printer takes the virtual model and “prints” it by laying down layer after layer of material until the object is something you can hold in your hand.

I’m so curious about these machines, that I recently took a MakerBot office tour, and I can tell you the 3D printers I saw were small enough for a desktop, as quiet as a typical inkjet, and beautifully designed. I admit I felt like a child at a magic show. We are living in the future, friends! (Here’s another example of a desktop size 3D printer.)

Have you ever seen or tried one? Do these make your imagination soar? They are predicted to spark a new manufacturing revolution. Some say it will be bigger than the industrial revolution. Makes my mind spin.

P.S. — It’s not just trinkets. Researchers are trying to “print” with cells and create kidneys. (Gasp!)

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 AK November 20, 2012 at 7:40 am

I want one! Great post! Wow, I had no idea about using this technology for medical advancements – very cool.


2 Koseli Cummings November 26, 2012 at 9:47 am

I want one too! So cool.


3 Gina November 20, 2012 at 8:00 am

They are amazing pieces of equipment. I currently work for a health care company and we are testing them for various uses. The one that fascinates me the most is the ability to put in specifications for a certain size tool as the needs comes up during an operation and have the tool in minutes. Talk about personalized medicine.


4 Koseli Cummings November 26, 2012 at 9:48 am

Gina, I read about that. That is so amazing. 3D Printers could do so much good in operating rooms.


5 Angela DeMuro November 20, 2012 at 8:47 am

Oh my! This is amazing! I MUST have one as soon as possible. And yes my imagination is spinning! I may have found an answer to making little versions of my characters for my books! Thank you:)


6 Anna November 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

I had never heard of these until I saw a news special about using them to “print” guns. It was very controversial for obvious reasons. Essentially someone could buy or give away the “pattern” and someone could print one wherever, whenever. Fascinating.


7 Amy Hackworth November 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

This is amazing! I heard a Science Friday about 3-D printers this summer and I’m still trying to wrap my head around them. These little people are adorable, and an application they didn’t mention on Science Friday. :)



8 Koseli Cummings November 26, 2012 at 9:49 am

Thanks for the link, Amy. I love Science Friday so much. We’d listen to it every Friday during the long carpool growing up. I learned a lot.


9 Pam November 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm

We have one in our basement! It’s the Ultimaker out of Europe. We love dreaming up things to print and use (beer keg pull, necklace pendant, custom cookie cutters, phone cases, and the list goes on). My husband has even taken it to my daughter’s elementary school to demonstrate at one of their tech after school clubs. The kids were so excited, hubby felt like a nerdy rockstar!


10 Koseli Cummings November 26, 2012 at 9:51 am

Pam, that’s super cool. You’re way ahead of us. I never thought of phone cases. So smart!


11 Megan M. November 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Suddenly I’m seized by the desire to print my own Ryan Gosling. A girl can dream, right?


12 Koseli Cummings November 26, 2012 at 9:51 am

Ha ha! The possibilities are endless for pocket-sized celebrity crushes.


13 Jess November 21, 2012 at 2:32 am

I just read about that Mini Me printing booth a few days ago, and ran through all the possible reasons I might need to go to Japan SOON (no luck! But I’ll keep scheming …) Only printing kidneys would be cooler :)


14 Koseli Cummings November 26, 2012 at 9:50 am

Oh, a trip to Japan would be incredible! Keep scheming, Jess.


15 Dale Coykendall November 21, 2012 at 6:34 am

We are just starting to explore the possibilities of the technology… So many amazing directions to ponder! Still researching best model for us…


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