Additive manufacturing (i.e. 3D printing) is revolutionizing many industries and its influence grows as the technology becomes more reliable and costs continue to fall.
There are many competing systems available. Technologies on the high end allow for printing a variety of materials including metal, ceramic, sandstone, nylon and a variety of plastics. On the low end, desktop plastic extrusion systems have make printing and prototyping available for small scale design activities.
I bought a MakerBot Replicator (version 1, no longer available) in 2012 and could not be happier with the purchase. I am continually amazed by what I am able to create with it. Its power is amplified by the availability of many free programs available for 3d design and rendering. My favorite programs are OpenSCAD and Blender. I have also done some design work in the free version of Google’s SketchUp.
Feel free to send me a message via my contact form if you have any questions or want some design or printing help.