3D Printers Growing In Popularity Among Hobbyists, Businesses - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

3D Printers Growing In Popularity Among Hobbyists, Businesses

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by Chris Conte           

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – From an intricate replica of the Eiffel Tower to a children's toy or anything in between, 3D printers can create almost anything you can imagine.

Your office is probably filled with boring, bland printers that spit out nothing more than pieces of white paper but a new trend could soon be changing that.

"It's the same parts that are in your average inkjet printer just modified a bit," says Trevor Hearns, a self-explained technology junkie.

Trevor's new hobby is a 3D printer. It can literally take anything you want to design on a computer program and print it out using melted plastic.

"I could watch this thing run for hours," says Trevor.

The whole thing is heat based. A piece of plastic wire is fed into a tiny heater, then very delicately and particularly printed across a base. Unlike that laser printer in your office, the 3D printer can move up off the page.

"You break the knob on your stove or you lose it, you pull out your calipers, you get some measurements and you design a new one," says Trevor.

The growing trend is not just for hobbyists.

"You can actually produce something after you dream it up, design it in a software package and suddenly you can print it and have it readily available so there's a big cool factor to it," says Melissa Ragsdale who oversees 3D printing for Nova Copy. 

Melissa says they have printed out miniature churches, hand sanders, even replacement hips and knees - whatever customers design on the computer, they can more than likely replicate and print out.

"Limitations, I think at this point, are only the imagination," she says.

Depending on the size and shape some objects can take a few hours to print. A 3D printer can even print out parts to make another 3D printer.

Email: cconte@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5ChrisConte
Twitter: Twitter.com/ChrisConte

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