Remember the “replicators” of science fiction? You know, the gadget like a microwave oven where you dialled up “replacement gear wheel” or “9mm pistol” or “vegetarian lasagne” and out it’d pop? That’s what you’re looking at in the photo at right.
OK, not quite.
This is the Fab@Home Model 1 freeform fabrication system, sort of like an inkjet printer for making 3D objects.
These rapid prototyping (RP) systems have been around for a while, but the Model 1 has two key differences. You can build it yourself for US$2300 of parts you can buy off the shelf. And the plans and software are free.