While 3D printing may have started out as a niche hobby, it's starting to turn into a popular pastime for creative types and even mainstream users who simply like the novelty of printing out their own tchotchkes. The category still has a long way to go before 3D printers truly become commonplace, but moving in that direction, MakerBot is selling its Replicator Mini, a compact 3D printer with a $1,375 price tag.
When geeks get ahold of a 3D printer, they immediately start drooling over the prospect of custom-made Warhammer figures and replica BFGs. When crooked geeks get ahold of a 3D printer, they apparently start scheming up ways to bilk normal folks out of their money. Federal prosecutors say a ring of four individuals did just that when they used the nifty devices to create realistic-looking ATM skimmers to steal the debit card info – and soon thereafter, money – of Texas citizens.
How exactly do you justify a million dollar 3D printer? We're not sure, but we'll gladly gawk at what others have created, including a golf ball made from pure titanium powder. And if you don't have $1 million to spare, don't worry, i.materialise will do the dirty work for you.
"We're overjoyed that we're the world's first 3D printing service to let consumers order titanium 3D prints," the company said. "Titanium 3D printing opens up an entirely new world of advanced engineering, manufacturing, and jewelry applications for creative people worldwide. Titanium's high heat resistance, high accuracy, and unparalleled strength lets designers now make things that before now could only be made by the research and development departments of only the largest corporations in the world."
Of course, outsourcing your 3D titanium projects will cost a pretty penny, too. A standard 2cm x 2cm x 4cm print with a volume of 1 cubic centimeter runs $124, and a part with the same bounding box and 4 cubic centimeters of volume will cost $192, i.materialise says.