All Star Trek fans out there will know about ‘replicators’ – machines that can make any object you want. This is no longer the stuff of sci-fi – now you can buy one for your own home! Well – sort of… The Thing-O-Matic 3D Printer can make small plastic models of anything you can produce a 3D computer drawing of, and will accept files from most 3D design packages…
OK, so it can only make objects up to 7″ by 6″ in size, but at just $1,225 (around £790) and only 3o minutes to ‘print’ each object, just think of the possibilities! Can’t find your bottle opener? Can’t be bothered to go out and buy one? Just knock up or download a 3D model and PRINT one! Combine the thing-o-matic with the MakerBot 3D scanner, which scans 3D objects around itself and turns them into designs the MakerBots can replicate everything you already have.
The 3D printer, made by Makerbot Industries in the USA works by building up microscopic layers of plastic. More advanced machines have existed for a while in the manufacturing industry, but thie is the first time a 3D printer has been made available for home use.
And whilst it can only print plastic objects at the moment, a new model is already in the pipeline that can include metal components too, making the prospect of “printing” electrical devices like mobile phones (minus the microchips) a potential reality.
So what would you print with a 3D printer…? We’ve had a bit of a brainstorm in the office and come up with the following list – let us know what you’d print in the comments section below:
Things You Could Print with a 3D Printer!
- Money…! If the version that prints metal works
- TV Remote
- Coat Hanger
- Flower Pot
- The Statue of Liberty (OK we found this one on YouTube!)