It's possible that in the near future, we'll print out new organs, phones, and hot dogs, with 3D printers in our own homes. But for now, the super-trendy cottage industry is confined to silly bric-à-brac: plastic cufflinks, toy cars, and whatever this thing is. Shapeways, startup purveyor of these wares, just netted a big bundle of cash.
Again: maybe fabricating this stuff (and more!) will be the new normal someday, and an immense convenience. But for now, 3D printers are far too expensive for anyone but hobbyists, leaving you with the alternative of just buying the objects from Shapeways. Which sort of defeats the whole conceit of 3D printing—objects when you want them! There's nothing special about a pair of plastic dice just became they were spat out expensive machinery in someone else's room. Strangely, Shapeways' new funding round (led by Andreessen Horowitz) doesn't seem aimed at bringing on-demand bracelets to your home. Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon only shrugged to TechCrunch "Maybe some day [3D printers will] come down in price." Maybe. [TechCrunch]