You can create your own 3D-printed marvel from next week as Maplin sells its first 3D printer for £700.
High-street gadget shop Maplin adds the Velleman K8200 printer kit to its shelves next Tuesday. Made from aluminium bits you assemble yourself, the K2800 can print objects measuring 20cm3 from PLA or ABS filament. It's compatible with free RepRap software and firmware.
3D printers work by taking a computer-designed virtual model and instructing a 3D printer to layer on plastic, building up slice by slice into a finished three-dimensional object. As the pad at the bottom moves around, the nozzles injects 0.5mm-thick strands of plastic onto the model.
The results can be anything from jewellery to pre-production mock-ups of new products or components, or elaborate movie props such as Iron Man's mask -- and they can even include moving parts.
Hit play on our video for more amazing 3D-printed wonders, including a house entirely designed and printed by computers.
And you can get in on the action with printers like the Makerbot and the home 3D printer coming to Maplin. But there's a big difference between industrial 3D printers and home models like this one -- it's a seriously bad idea to try 3D-printing a handgun, for example, unless you've always felt 10 fingers is a bit excessive and you could probably get by with a few less.
The Velleman K8200 printer kit goes on sale next Tuesday, 9 July, for £700. Are you excited about 3D printing? What would you print from plastic? Imprint your thoughts in the comments or print them out on our Facebook page.