I showed the 3-D printed models to my calculus class today and they were really curious about 3-D printing. There is a nice video on the Z-Corp website showing the process. Just for the record, a 3-D printer will cost you around $40K and they have actually been around for 7 years. The new ones use “state of the art” ink-jet technology (hee hee… it’s been a long time since I’ve heard ink-jet referred to as state of the art).

There is also a nice description of 3-D printing at the Alchemy Models website. It was fun to look through their gallery of printed solids.

Finally, here is an older entry from the Wolfram blog on 3D printing with Mathematica.

UPDATE: I just ran across this article (totally by accident) about an open-source do-it-yourself 3D printer that only costs $2400. There is a video in the article. If you’ve got some time on your hands and are mechanically inclined, you could build your own. This video does a much better job of showing the process of adding layers of material. This would be a great video to show in Calc II when you’re talking about the disc or washer method or the idea of slicing to create volume! I mean, really, it couldn’t be more perfect!

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