By Chiara Atik
Imagine this: You’re looking for the perfect shoes to go with your outfit, but nothing in your closet works. So you go to your computer, design the perfect pair online, and click “print.” Soon you’re leaving the house wearing shoes you created and manufactured at home.
It sounds like something from a science-fiction movie, but it may not be far off. A company called 3D Systems, which has been working with complex printing technology for the past 25 years, is getting ready to release Cube: an at-home 3-D printer that will enable people to design and print products from prosthetic legs to hearing aids to, yes, shoes.
The printer, which 3D systems says will be available later this year, will cost $1,299 and come with Wi-Fi, 25 free files, and the plastic, Lego-like material required to create a few initial projects. You'll be able to design your own products or browse Cubify.com, where users can upload and sell designs.
“You have this complete freedom of creation and unlimited geometry; you add to that the durability and lightweight capability of 3-D printing, and all of a sudden you do have the ability to create fashion,” Cathy Lewis, vice president for global marketing at 3D Systems, told TODAY.com.
Young designers are already making use of the technology, creating shoes, bags, and jewelry of varying intricacy. Even the most outlandish shoe design is usually wearable.
“Complexity is free with 3D printing,” said Lewis. “The 3D printer can create almost anything.”
Chiara Atik is a writer who lives in New York and can't wait to print herself a new wardrobe.