As a guy that machines old parts.....that is the wave of the future. It's been improving by leaps and bounds. The fact that they can 3D print a FUNCTIONING assembly in place is incredible. I'm sure they had to disassemble the wrench to scan it, then place it back together in the software, but still amazing.
Simply feed the same data into a five axis CNC machine and you get the part in metal. Eventually they'll have metal "printers" that will do the same thing in metal.
I hear Ducati can already go from computer screen to running prototype in six months. Something that typically takes about 2 - 3 years.
I read about that 3D printer about 10 years ago in Maxim magazine of all places. They talked about someday having smaller versions that when hooked up to satellite links could produce parts on location from a central database. It would allow for emergency repairs to equipment, vehicles etc. I wonder also if that will eventually replace plaster casts and splints as well since they can be completely custom fitted by scan in minutes and then recycled after use? Imagine a cast that latched two halves together that allowed for easy access for washing or itching. I call dibs on the patent for that.
I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day. -Frank Sinatra
We have a 3D printer at work and it cuts down on prototype time incredibly for our product development department. We have looked into the scanner but do not have a need big enough to justify buying it as we create most of our own parts in solid works from scratch. Pretty sweet technology.
I Don't try to explain to people why I ride a motorcycle
"For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who don't understand, no explanation is possible."