PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- 3D printers are not new, but they are taking on new life with everything from major architectural designs to everyday items being printed out daily.
So what's the deal with the future of 3D printing?
Inside Philadelphia's NRI 3DLab, they are using 3D printers to create something a little unique - figurines.
They call them Mini Mes - small snapshots of yourself.
"You can make a toy of yourself, you can make a family portrait of yourself. You want a wedding topper? We can do that too!" NRI's Alex Rivera said.
3D printing was developed in the 80s, but in the past few years it has really picked up speed.
At NRI, they see architects, inventors, even students walk through the door to turn ideas into tangible objects.
"We capture a moment in time and we are able to hold it in hand and have it for you indefinitely," Rivera said.
They work with massive, industrial sized printers, but today, desktop models are selling for less than $2,000.
And many people are buying them and using them at home.
"A lot of DIYers, the inventors who have an idea and want to bring something to market and test it out, they are grabbing these machines and bringing them home and doing all kind of beautiful things with it," Alex Rivera said.
The ideas are endless, everything from prosthetics to engineering presentations, even practical items you use every day can be loaded in and printed out.
3D printing being used in fun ways
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