When you had to make a model for a school project, you could get really messy about it, in such a fabulously fun way!

Plaster of Paris, modeling clay, clay - the real stuff, Lego bricks, model making kits, oh the list is deliciously endless. In many ways though, this list is becoming obsolete and that's because 3D printing is here. With a 3D printer at your disposal, you can dream up almost any object and this printer will create it for you in glorious 3 dimensions.

Basically, 3D printing is an additive manufacturing technology. This means that you can take a hunk of plastic, metal, nylon and many other "raw materials", 'feed' it into a printer and it will create the object that you desire with the help of a digital file. It is a rather mindboggling idea so here is a small video to get started:

From the time of woodblock printing, offset printing and even dot matrix printers, we have come a long way indeed. And in the world of 3D printing, there is talk about anti-gravity printing and printing with a pen like device. If a machine could conduct a symphony with the instruments of plastic, technology and a digital baton, then Mataerial is it:

Then there is the 3D printing pen. Imagine being able to put your signature on a piece of paper and watch it stand out, literally! LIX is a magical experience in its own right:

Traditionally, engineers, manufacturers and architects have enjoyed this technology. But with the size of printers getting smaller and the level of sophistication getting larger, a 3D printer can soon find itself in every home and being used in many different ways. Human body parts and organs can also be created someday with such a printer. Take a look at this bioficial heart in progress:

So, the next time you want to make jewelry or create a physical manifestation of your concepts and virtual thoughts, all you need to do is to trust a mini printer, a digital file and a hunk of plastic.