[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B00BFZOVGI” locale=”us” height=”62″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41PJIhHwW0L._SL110_.jpg” width=”110″]3D-Printers are something of a zeitgeist these days among the futurism community. Companies like MakerBot Industries are producing consumer versions of formerly prototype or high-end 3D-printers. And science fiction writers and tech journalists are all caught up in what potential 3D-printing has to usher-in a revolution that allows consumers to create their own toys and tools.
But most 3D-printing technology is still restricted to using polymer filaments extruded to create plastic objects. The prospect for durable, 3D-printed creations is still in the future. However, David Hartkop created the Mini Metal Maker, a 3D-printer that produces more durable creations using metal clay.
The Mini Metal Maker uses similiar mechanics as the polymer-based 3D-printers, but what it can produce is extensive. Gears, turbines, and components of electrical circuits can be printed using the Mini Metal Maker. Potentially, you could manage and maintain your home electricity without hiring an electrician if you owned the Mini Metal Maker.
While the cost of the metal clay is still expensive, Hartkop says that he aims for a retail price of $500 for the Mini Metal Maker once all production costs have been optimized.
Similar to the customization and personal control made possible by the Free and Open Source Software movement, 3D-printing enables you to create and tinker with material like you never before could. Imagine printing a missing piece of a circuit controlling your kitchen light in about half the time and cost of highering an electrician or buying something from the hardware store. With a home equipped with 3D-printers, extruding plastic or metal clay-based products, you will be able to constantly maintain its infrastructure.
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