PRINTING IN METAL

shapify 3d figurineUnless you’re making frameworks for body parts, most of the plastic things that come out of 3D printers look like junk. So how about printing in metal? Now we’re talkin.

Joshua Pearce, at Michigan Technica University, is working on a 3D metal printer which costs less than $1200. It uses parts from a commercial welder and puts together thin pieces of steel. There are other ways to print with metal, like fusing metal particles in a solution, using lasers for the fusion.

If you want to build your own 3D metal printer, Pearce has shared instructions at appropedia.org/Open-source_metal_3-D_printer.

If you want someone else to do most of the work, and you have an Xbox 360 with a Kinect player, head over to Shapify.me. They’ll make a 3D model of you if you stand in front of the camera and scan yourself. To have the 3D figurine sent to your door costs $59. It’s either white or multi-colored plastic and you can paint it.

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