Hi, we used the Dimension to have our stuff printed in 2006, their output is a little rough but not too bad.. Some are terrible.. There are quite a few techniques used with 3D printing by manufactures to achieve a 3D object. Some use a wax stuff for supports but that often cost more than the ABS raw plastics.. You also have to be aware of the toxic fumes etc, some of them are terrible. ZCorp make printers that can print in full colour but they are printed using Corn Starch or something like that.. They are only 3D representations of the the object, they cannot be used as a test piece, but I am assuming they have other machines now.. Dimension 3D printer output are able to be tested for use, as with other printers.. There is a nice one that cost about 5k that sits on your desk but the size of the models is very limited..
This one we were looking at buying for our school.. It uses a kind of whipper snipper thick line to print with.. It comes with heaps of colours too.. It looks a bit unfinished but it a nice tool and very cheap... http://airwolf3d.com/store/products/fully-assembled-and-calibrated-3d-printer/
During the Gulf war, the US army had a huge 3D printer setup... If they needed a new carburettor for their Hummer, they printed it.. Their factory for this was in Kuwait, or so I was told.....
PS.. I watched a TV science program last year where they used the building blocks of the human heart to print a heart valve, they then put an electrical current through it and it pumped.. Just amazing. They also printed an ear.. yuck..
Primary School Teacher - Hobby Virtual Tours and 3D/360 Object/Product Photographer - Our aim is to create a 3D/360 Virtual Tour Shop/Store with links to 3D/360 degree products. My gear, VR Drive II - D90 - Nikon 10.5 fisheye - Nikon D800 with Nikon-Nikkor 14-24 - NOVOFLEX Magic Balance - Acratech GP Ball-head - Nodal Ninja 4 + RD-16 Rotor - Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber Tripod