I couldn't believe all of the products printed using MakerBot's printers--from figurines to robotic hands to shoes! Be sure to check them out in my gallery.
I first met with MakerBot's CEO Bre Pettis to learn all about the process. 3D printing uses fused deposition modeling, which is basically a fancy robotically controlled hot glue gun. The printers feed a PLA filament through the hot tip on the printer to draw the object one layer at a time, which makes these products typically more affordable than traditional manufacturing. I got to learn about the Robohand project, which makes prosthetic hands for only $5!
Next, I met with Francis Bitonti to see how designers are using 3D printing to revolutionize the fashion world. Think custom designer gowns for $400! He recently made a couture 3D printed dress for fashion icon Dita von Teese.