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).
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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