I have been following the progress of 3D printers which are very fascinating. They are becoming affordable for the home user in addition to being simpler to use.
3D printing takes a three-dimensional data file and creates a solid object by printing it layer by layer. Great for engineers, designers, and hobbyists. Excellent for proof of concepts and making little unique gadgets.
It is amazing to see what people have come up with for unique designs. I especially like the geometrical 3D shapes.
Creating 3D data models has become increasingly more simple, especially with free software by companies such as the Autodesk 123D suite. They offer free apps to capture, sculpt, design, and make 3D models. You can use an iPhone to take a series of photos of an object from different angles using 123D Catch and it will render it into a 3D model. You can use 123D Sculpt on an iPad to use finger gestures and mould 3D digital clay.
It would then be possible to use one of the above 3D printers and print a 3D model of what you have designed on the screen.
Fascinating to see the progress these past few years and I am very excited to see what’s coming.