You can now create virtually anything out of plastic, here in Richmond. 3D printers are no longer just for high-tech labs or big companies.
Chris Matisa, owner of Kiss of Ink Tattoo in Short Pump, says the possibilities are endless. Matisa just bought a 3D printer, which creates custom plastic figures.
"[The printer] can build anything from key chains, to sculptures, to little statues," said Matisa.
Matisa says his 3D printer can produce any kind of figure or mold- like ornaments, cell phone cases, models of buildings, car parts, even items for clients you may not typically find in a tattoo shop.
"Even somebody who knits sweaters, and they want little monogrammed buttons made... I can make the buttons," continued Matisa.
Millions of 3D patterns are being shared online. Objects and even pictures of objects can be scanned to replicate dimensions into a computer program. Then, it's a matter of pressing "print."
The 3D printer uses recyclable plastic to add layer on top of melted layer to form the figure, following the dimensions entered by the computer.
Matisa says 3D printers have been around for years, but are now more accessible for small businesses.
"Right now, it's become semi-affordable for the smaller business person," added Matisa, who bought his 3D printer several weeks ago.
He charges just a few dollars for small figurines. Matisa says you could even make a model of your own pet, if you bring in the right pictures.
3D printers made national headlines earlier this month when Congress renewed a ban on plastic guns, since 3D printers are capable of devising plastic guns. However, Matisa says he has no intention of printing any weapons.
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