Propellers, prostheses, pizza: In the future, or so they say, 3D printers will be able to produce almost anything and will therefore revolutionise the industry. There are experts who warn of unrealistic expectations, while others are currently making thoroughly interesting use of this technology. Martin Schwalm is one of the latter. He has owned a 3D printer for several months.
It smells of almond pastries, hot milk and a charred plastic cup. This smell is produced by a small hot glue applicator, which moves frantically to and fro inside a black box, spraying melted plastic on a platform. Layer by layer, a black, shimmering camera cover appears. This is part of a construction which Martin Schwalm drafted as a 3D design on a computer. Software converts the design into print commands. A "three-dimensional hot glue applicator" builds the desired object out of plastic in layers.