Lisa at BoingBoing Gadgets shows some amazing work by artists using 3D printing, noting that "building ultra-precise objects out of nothing is undeniably awesome." She asks, "Can you imagine if Torolf Sauermann tried to make this snail shell-esque math art using a pottery kiln?"
Freedom of Creation (FOC) of Helsinki uses laser sintering to "create digitally generated consumer products. These products are more than stunning beauties. They are also models for localized manufacturing and distribution logistics where no stock, no assembly, minimal transportation and just-in-time production are future goals"
"instead of producing textiles by the meter, then cutting and sewing them into final products, this concept has the ability to make needle and thread obsolete."
Ammar Eloueini is creating entire chairs by "using digital animation software Softimage XSI to capture a moving image frame by frame, and then combining those frames and printing them out on a selective laser sintering machine."
All this high tech equipment and plastics and sintering lasers isn't very green in its technologies, but it will evolve. Others are 3D printing in simpler, more natural materials like sugar.
They write at Evil Mad Scientist:
Sugar is a particularly good medium because it's easy to obtain, low in cost, kid friendly, water soluble, non-hazardous, non-toxic, non-intimidating, rigid despite having a low melting point, and may be suitable for making objects for lost sugar (like lost wax) investment casting. We also think that it may also be possible to make interesting food with this technology.
So whether you are printing out your clothing or your dessert, it is likely that these technologies are going to be affecting all of us soon.
More at BoingBoing Gadgets, and on TreeHugger: