Cheap 3D printing lets you make your own spare parts

The Thing-O-Matic from MakerBot Industries: an inexpensive 3D printer for the massesThe future is here and it has a name: the Thing-O-Matic. The truth is, of course, once you get over how cool it is to be able to print real-world objects in three dimensions using little more than a PC, some inexpensive raw plastic and what looks like a dialysis machine made from Tinkertoy, you quickly realize you have no real need to ever print real-world objects in three dimensions. But the fact that MakerBot Industries has taken a process that used to require a machine worth $10,000 or more and put it within reach of mere mortals for the paltry sum of $1,225 USD, is nonetheless remarkable and could have a profound effect on the next generation of engineers who – no longer limited by parts they buy from retailers – can pretty much build anything they can dream up inside a CAD program. So long as they can limit their dreams to 996mm x 108mm x 115 mm – that being the width, length and height maximums of the Thing-o-Matic’s build area. I say let the printing begin, and if anyone can fashion me a new rotor for my Air Hogs Sky Patrol, I would be grateful.



  1. fred flintsone

    If this 3d printer used corn based ink (plastic)
    It could make food
    What a wonderful printer.
    I want one.


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  3. PCass

    The future is now.

    Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

    The beginnings of science fiction “Star Trek” replicators.

    In 50 years we will all have one, along with a 3d scanner. The possibilities are endless.
    May you live in interesting times……..