|3D printed bike|
Imagine you are riding a bike down the street and suddenly, it breaks. What do you do? Well, you walk to the nearest printer, plug in the USB and there you go, another bike (probably not that easy, but the future is coming).
How does it work?
3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material. You usually have a powder container (not necessaryly, there can be other materials as well) and a heat source of some kind. The first layer of material is pushed onto the container either manually or by the printer. The heat source now burns the desired area so that the melted powder particles join together. After this happens, another layer of material is applied. This goes on and on until the whole object is printed layer after layer. When done, the excess powder is removed and the object is cleaned and painted. (some printers allow color printing as well - this is done by different combinations of material and laser).
3D printing has actually been around for a decade now, but I hope it will catch on in the future even more, so I can buy my own printer for a reasonable price. There have also been a lot of DIY 3D printers, like this one I found on youtube:
It uses a slightly different kind of material, but the 3D printing technology is basically the same.
Also, there are these cool and awesome 3D printed action figures that I found on Engadet: