If you could have a vending machine spit out a small object in any shape you could dream up, what would it be? The DreamVendor, an interactive 3D printing station for Virginia Tech students, is envisioned as “a vending machine with an infinite inventory” that’s only limited by the imaginations of those who put it to work.
Created to enable students to quickly fabricate prototypes for academic and personal design projects, the machine reads CAD files from the user’s SD card, prints the three-dimensional part desired, and dispenses it into a bin when it’s done. The prototype machine is located on the Virginia Tech campus, but soon, new DreamVendors could pop up in retail centers for use by the general public.
Anyone who walks up to a DreamVendor kiosk – located inside a store, likely beside photo booths and soda machines – can choose to either load their own CAD designs into the system, or choose a pre-designed item to print. Plans are still in the developmental stage, but production is expected to begin next year.
3D printing pop-up shops have already begun to appear around the world, from a Baltimore studio that will help you create personalized products to a Japanese cafe that will scan your face and turn it into an edible chocolate treat.