By Peter Day
With the creation of many products, including building materials, now possible at the touch of a button, will 3D printing sound the death knell for mass production?
In a way there is nothing new about 3D printing.
For several decades it has been called "rapid prototyping": a quick way of making one-off items from fused plastic or metal powder, using expensive computer-controlled lasers that are at the heart of the "printers".
But now 3D printing is coming into its own, and is being taken seriously as a manufacturing process by very big corporations.
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