The initial excitement when 3D printers sprang into mainstream consciousness was soon followed by a bit of a lull when it became clear that most of the things they could make weren't entirely, well, useful.
But at the 3D Printshow in London on Thursday, a few items on display showed that 3D printers are now capable of going further than building flimsy models and one-off prototypes to actually printing finished products beyond toys and trinkets.
I set out to find how 3D printed parts are being incorporated in end-use objects in the sprawling convention at the Old Billingsgate Market, which perhaps counterintuitively meant seeking out the stuff that looked less fun. I was after functionality, not gimmickry.
That said, the first thing I came across rather stole the show. This beauty is the Strakka DOME S103 LMP2 race car, which will debut at the World Endurance Championship in Brazil later this year and includes several 3D-printed parts. Strakka Racing’s team principal Dan Walmsley explained that the company partnered with 3D printing heavyweights Stratasys to develop certain components.
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