3D PRINTING: Functionality for the future - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

3D PRINTING: Functionality for the future

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (KMSP) -

Anything you can imagine from toys to artificial limbs can be printed with consumer 3D printers – they're all the rage among artists and hobbyists.

Now, an Eden Prairie-based company called Stratasys is trying to meet this demand by purchasing Maker Bot, a small 3D printing company with lots of users.

At Tomodachi, Denny Park sells some of the most popular toys and action figures, but Park's plan is to expand this plastic empire. He'd like to have five printers, but they're far from average, they create 3D objects.

"You can create your own action figures, even something you've been dreaming of growing up," Park said.

Enter Stratasys. For years, this pioneer in the 3D printing space only sold these big bulky machines for hundreds of thousands of dollars to companies like General Electric and NASA to create parts for cars and robots.

Now, Jonathan Cobb and his team are trying to sell these smaller desktop 3D printers for a couple thousand – in some cases, to the general public.

In a nutshell, here's the basic creation process: You come up with an idea using software, send it to the printer, and instead of ink coming out of it, it's plastic. Anything from a castle to an iPhone case can be made in only a few hours from scratch.

However, with every cool pie in the sky idea, some are controversial. A video from Australian police shows the dangers of printing 3D guns and the easy access to blueprints online. Some U.S. lawmakers are asking for tighter regulations, but this isn't stopping the momentum of 3D printers.

Denny Park is trying to set up his own 3D printing workshop to train kids in the fine art of creating toys.

"You don't have to be an expert to create 3D images," Park said.

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