NEW YORK TheStreet--You've heard about these 3D printers. They can be used to build automobiles, a mini-me, or even a new home. A 3D printed organ miraculously saved the life of a dying baby. That's amazing, but realistically, what would you use a 3D printer for?
Make sure you'll be getting your money's worth, because a MakerBot printer retails for more than $2,100. The company's new 3D scanner is a little less at $1400, but it's still a lot to pay if you don't know what to do with it. But before you take the plunge and buy your own machine, you can buy pre-made 3D printed items on Etsy or Shapeways.com. From fashion to home furnishings, there are a lot of crafty items to choose from.
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is already a big business, aggregating $2.2 billion in 3D printed items last year. And the industry's expected to grow, which is why MakerBot was bought by Stratasys (SSYS) for more than $600 million. Meanwhile, 2D printing is hurting.
Whether you own a machine and are looking for some inspiration or you're curious about what 3D items you can buy ready-made, there are plenty of creative options. Here are some of the best uses for 3D printing.