Super-fast 3D printing takes its cue from 'Terminator 2'

In a sense, 3D printing as you know it is a lie -- it's really stacking a series of 2D layers on top of each other, rather than forming a single object. That's where Carbon3D might come to the rescue. It just unveiled a 3D printing technique, Continuous Liquid Interface Production, that creates true, contiguous 3D items by blasting a resin pool with bursts of light (which hardens the resin) and oxygen (which keeps it in a liquid state). As the Washington Post notes, the approach both looks like and was inspired by the shapeshifting T-1000 robot in Terminator 2 -- solid objects emerge out of an amorphous goo.

The unusual method isn't just for show, of course. Since you don't need to craft items layer-by-layer or worry about eliminating seams, you can print objects 25 to 100 times faster than usual; that figurine you want could be ready in minutes, not hours. Also, the smoother, stronger output is much better suited to real-world uses, such as irritation-free medical implants. There's no mention of when Carbon3D's technology will land in something you can buy, but the potential impact is huge. You could craft 3D-printed goods at home that are much closer to commercial quality, and you wouldn't even have to wait long to hold the finished product in your hands.