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You've Heard of 3D Printing, and Now It's Here

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Remember last year when 3D printing was all over mainstream media? Since then, innovators have been hard at work developing things like a 3D-printed artificial ear that’s more sensitive than a human ear (Princeton), made-on-site medical supplies (aid workers in Haiti), and higher-grade yet more cost-efficient jet engines (GE and Rolls Royce). 

Perhaps most notably, the digital-to-solid manufacturing process—in which an object is built by compiling successive layers of material, such as plastic—just became significantly more accessible to non-engineers with the November opening of MakerBot’s third retail store, in Greenwich, Connecticut (72 Greenwich Ave, 203-297-6175; makerbot.com). Even if you’re not ready to purchase your own Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer (starting at $2,199), MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis encourages the public to come in and “see, touch, and even smell 3D printing”—which apparently smells like waffles or syrup, thanks to the corn-based bio-plastic used in the Replicator 2.

Other attractions include the MakerBot Photo Booth (have your picture taken then printed in 3D), demos, kids’ workshops, and printing services. In state, check out a course created around the newly acquired Replicator 2 at The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains (170 Hamilton Ave, 914-644-8100; thedae.com), an educational technology center for creative professionals. 

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