Prototyping gets cheaper
No self respecting architect's model workshop is without a 3D printer for making CAD-generated models and objects. OK, make that big-time product designers as well.
But the cost. Once you've bought your desktop plasma cutter and that expensive CNC software there's often not a lot of dosh left in the model-making budget.
Enter a pair of boffins from the university of Bath and their RepRap. They bill it as a machine which can replicate itself but actually it's a rapid prototyper, aka a 3D printer using coils of ABS to make the objects. The thing itself looks like a model oil platform made from drinking straws but apparently it does the business well enough for James Dyson to give it a metaphorical pat on the back.