Attendees at Inside 3D Printing got to see not just finished products but the 3-D printing process itself in action. Vendors such as Brooklyn-based MakerBot an industry heavyweight, had printers running throughout the three-day show to demonstrate how they work.
In the photo above, a MakerBot Replicator 2 model printer works on a figurine of Star Wars character Yoda. Fine polymer filaments are laid down and fused together by the printer head, starting from the bottom up, layer by layer, until a solid form is created. The process can take hours or days, depending on the size of the item. And the sizes on display varied widely, as the next slide illustrates.