Slide 1 of 5
In additive manufacturing of metals, lasers are used to weld metallic powder into structures. In other applications, spools of metal wires are beaded into shapes. No longer reliant on shapes that conventional machines stamp out, precision-casting companies can make complex shapes that previously weren't possible.
Years from now, cars and other modes of transportation could be manufactured more cheaply and more quickly and domestically via 3-D printing. General Electric recently announced a design contest in which participants create a 3-D-printable design for an aircraft engine bracket.
Slide 2 of 5
The object is a functioning lamp made with 3-D printing. Unlike traditional fabrication methods, additive technology allows for the custom creation of nonsolid, honey-comb like structures. You'll soon be able to design your own home goods.
See also: Job Hunting Gifts for Grads
Slide 3 of 5
Furnishings and fixtures are just the beginning. Why not print wearable designs? Morris of NAMII wore one of these bow ties at RAPID.
See also: Best Selling Games -- So Far
Slide 4 of 5
Pierre Renaux, a student at the Royal Academy of Fashion in Antwerp, has unveiled a line of shoes, all made using 3-D printing. Fierce and fabulous.
See also: 10 Cool American-Made Products
Slide 5 of 5
Andy Warhol's iconic Campbell soup can prints were just the beginning. As desktop 3-D printers become increasingly affordable, expect more artists to experiment with them.
"Tomato Paint Soup," from Emanuele Niri, was among the 3-D art pieces featured at Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum. The show was sponsored by Belgian-based additive manufacturer i.materialise.
Just as Warhol mass-produced art using silk-screening techniques during the 1960s, so artists today can use 3-D printers.
"I can imagine Warhol's Factory, today, packed with 3-D printers, printing his objects," show curator Murray Moss said.