Jay Leno Replaces Old Car Parts Using 3-D Printer
Though still not priced at a mass consumer level, 3-D printing is a real technology that's currently being used by everyone from military surgeons to architects. The ability to produce rapid physical prototypes of just about any object is particularly useful for car collector Jay Leno, because broken parts of old cars are impossible to replace due to their age. A machinist could attempt to craft a new piece by hand, but the process is not only costly, it's also lacks the precision needed for such parts.
In a story for Popular Mechanics, Leno details the process and benefits of printing new car parts and molds, and made a video with a live demonstration. What's more fascinating than printed, unmoving car parts, though, is the crescent wrench that Jay makes: the wheel that closes and opens the wrench actually moves and works just like it should, straight from the printer.
If you want to print your own car parts, or perhaps some 'World of Warcraft' figurines, you'll need both a 3D scanner and the printer itself. The models used by Leno are the NextEngine 3D Scanner and the Dimension uPrint Personal 3D Printer, and cost $2995 and $15,000, respectively. Sure, it's still pretty pricey, but when you consider the fact that this technology cost hundreds of thousands of dollars just a few years ago, it shouldn't be too long before we see 3D printers at our local Best Buy. [From: Popular Mechanics]