New 3D printing practices

An intriguing article in the WSJ recently addressed new practices related to 3D printers (By William Bulkeley). After briefly describing the process (shooting of plastic particles and glue, or an ultraviolet or laser, passing over a liquid resin bath, hardening a layer of plastic in a computer-generated shape.)

"Now the technology is reaching ordinary consumers -- even young ones. SolidWorks, a U.S. unit of Dassault Systemes SA, a French maker of design software, plans to start up a new business called Cosmic Modelz that will allow kids to use the technology to create their own customized action-figures. Children can design a figure using SolidWorks' Cosmic Blob software on their home PCs, then go to a Web site run by 3D printer-maker Z Corp. and order their figures to be "printed" for $25 to $50. It will be kind of an electronic version of the Build-a-Bear Workshop concept where children create customized teddy-bears. (...) Some designers use 3D printing as a communications tool (...) A number of U.S. companies say they use "3D faxing" to send designs to 3D printers at factories in Asia so manufacturing engineers have a clearer idea of what they're supposed to build. (...) At Walt Disney Co.'s Pixar Animation Studios, animators used a Z Corp. machine to make 250 models of "Toy Story" characters for a museum display. "

Why do I blog this? because new usages of 3D printing that pop up here and there are more and more intriguing (the advent of a spime world?). Well, when you have in mind applications that allow kids to 3D print characters, it's a landmark for sure!