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Vienna University of Technology builds a 3D printer, 3D prints the key to our hearts

Brian Heater

We've all spent a good portion of the past few years imagining what we'll do as soon as we get our hands on our very own 3D printer. Of course, if you're of the particularly crafty, Make Magazine-subscribing sort, you've probably already built a few of your own. For those who don't know a soldering iron from a freshly-burned hole in their hand, however, it's been a matter of waiting for the technology to come down in size and price. A machine designed by professors at the Vienna University of Technology still has a ways to go on the roughly €1,200 (about $1,700) price, but it weigh in at a bit over three pounds, and that's not for your run-of-the-mill extruder -- this breadbox-sized machine uses lasers to harden plastics, allegedly with enough precision to produce medical parts. Looks like picking out the perfect gift for your professor friends in Vienna just got a lot harder.

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