Submitted by jbraun on

3D printing may seem like the wave of the future, but the process was actually invented in 1983 and it has taken nearly 30 years to evolve to the point it is today. With printed hands, selfie figurines and even buildings, there's nothing this "new technology" can't replicate. Fuse Deposition Modeling uses a plastic cord that is traced into a pattern while being melted as it is extruded through a nozzle. The pattern is loaded into the printer similar to sending a document from your computer. The only difference is that the file used in 3D printing breaks down an object into many layers, which can be printed in order to assemble nearly anything!

Think of it this way, when you push the nozzle of a whipped cream or Easy Cheese container, stuff comes out. By layering that "stuff" on top of itself, you could build a structure

Luckily, the process has come so far that families don't have to resort to cheese-based structures! Products made by Makerbot and 3Doodler are affordable enough to bring the technology home.