The Nuke Lamp
At first pass, this seems like a simple piece of plastic molded to make a very expensive lamp (~$1500!). But in fact this creative, flowing mushroom cloud of peaceful light doesn’t even exist until a buyer makes the purchase. After the purchase click on Veneri Design’s website, or on Veneri’s Shapeways page (more on Shapeways in a minute), a printer whirrs into action and actually begins laying the plastic, per an uploaded design spec by Veneri. (Note: the circuitry and bulb is created per usual methods, i.e. not printed)
This is another side to 3D printing and why we will begin to see it take off: previously, in any economical way, we had been unable to manage the amount of data and detail it took to instruct a 3D printer. With easy-to-use programs like AutoCAD and other three-dimensional design programs that create easily portable files, designs like mushroom-clouded lamps can easily port over to a printer.
Sites like Shapeways house large-scale 3D printers and create the objects, but also provide a virtual marketplace, a la Amazon.com, of 3D printed goods. Veneri Design is one of many hundreds of designers featuring their products on Shapeways.