The worldwide maker movement is booming with the proliferation of these relatively inexpensive devices, and today we feature some interesting applications for this very modern take on the home workshop.
Animaris Geneticus Parvus (aka the Strandbeest)
This is a Strandbeest, a plastic animal designed by Dutch artist Theo Jansen, and based on his famous kinetic sculptures.
The entire pseudo-creature is manufactured in its final form, and ready to start walking straight from the printer. Adding a separate propeller piece, lets the monster move autonomously with the power of the wind.
If buying and maintaining a 3D printer isn't your schtick, you should consider using New Zealand's Ponoko.
Founded in 2007 by David ten Have and Derek Elley, Ponoko lets makers concentrate on designing products, by taking care of the printing and shipping.
The service also acts as a marketplace to sell 3D printed goods, or even buy and sell print designs to use at home.
In the wide spectrum of applications for 3D printing, it's hardly surprising that somebody would find a way to use it to kill people.
Defense Distributed is a 3D printed fire arms organisation, that started its own catalogue of gun manufacturing files after a crackdown on weapons designs by Makerbot.
The catalogue is currently very small, and mostly for plastic components (so no barrels yet), but with advancements in 3D printing technology it might not be long before whole guns can be custom manufactured at home.
House by CAD
In a slightly more humanitarian use of injection moulding, Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars has designed a house built with sand and inorganic binder, assembled in parts using a large 3D printer.
Ruijssenaars says he hopes the house can be ready for printing by 2014.
Build your own kidney
This last piece of inspiration isn't something you can replicate at home with a $1000 3D printer and a lot of moxy, but it could save thousands of lives around the world.