These 3D Printed Objects Will Amaze You or You Have No Soul

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Prepare to have your mind blown.

If you haven't heard much about 3D printing, that'll soon change. The $1.3 billion industry is expected to become a $5.2 billion one by 2020. It's been mentioned in everything from the gun control debate to Paris Fashion Week (3D dresses pictured above). There's even a movement of building houses with the technology!

I'm not going to spend a long time explaining it, but here's the gist: A 3D object is designed using software such as CAD. The design is sent to a printer that can handle a variety of materials (things like plastics, rubber, ceramics, etc.), and the machine prints it through a layering process using the selected materials. (This infographic explains it pretty perfectly.)

It's still an expensive hobby, but more and more it's becoming mainstream. Several 3D printing online communities and marketplaces, like Shapeways and Thingiverse have popped up. I scanned these two sites to find some of the coolest 3D items out there. Just keep in mind, these things we're printed! No parts, tools, assembly lines, etc.  required.

If you're like, "Yeah, so what?," we can't be friends.

Awesome desk art

[caption id="attachment_40594" align="aligncenter" width="458" caption="3D busts of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak ($109.93 on Shapeways), your Apple addiction isn't obvious enough. "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40590" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="A creepy-cool robotic hand. ($52.41, Shapeways.)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40592" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="A Vulcan cruiser to add your toy collection. $17.64"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40593" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="Way cooler than a pen holder from Staples! $20"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40601" align="aligncenter" width="483" caption="An even cooler holder. Design available at Thingiverse."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40596" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="An oh-so-sweet 8-bit bee. $14.08"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40662" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="One-eyed alien. $6.23"][/caption]

For your hobbies and habits

[caption id="attachment_40603" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="For octopuses with caffeine addictions. $56.38"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40604" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="Chess in 3D. $140.07"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40653" align="aligncenter" width="483" caption="A rubber band-powered printed plane."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40654" align="aligncenter" width="483" caption="Strain your pasta. Impress your friends."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40659" align="aligncenter" width="483" caption="Have a beer? Can't find a beer opener. Print one."][/caption]

And just because

[caption id="attachment_40656" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="Your own sad, little Keanu Reeves. Poor, Keanu. $25-$45."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40655" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="3D painting of a vase. Looks real, doesn't it? $80"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40657" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="Adorable bunnies. $4.62."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40660" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="Give yourself a hipster mustache while drinking your favorite bottled beverage. $19.99"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40661" align="aligncenter" width="472" caption="Computing cuff links. $59.99"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_40669" align="aligncenter" width="483" caption="Seriously. this thing was made in a printer!"][/caption]

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Dana Gagnon

is the Director of Branded Content at Pluralsight. After working for years in Chicago media, she joined the team in 2012 to continue bringing quality news, tips and more to Pluralsight's audience. Find her @ChicagoDana or on Google+.