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This is what manufacturing will be like in the future.

Ask a factory today to make you a single hammer to your own design and you will be presented with a bill for thousands of dollars.

These still exist, but Euro Mold exhibits no oily machinery tended by men in overalls.

Instead of bashing, bending and cutting material the way it always has been, 3D printers build things by depositing material, layer by layer.It might be a pair of shoes, printed in solid form as a design prototype before being produced in bulk.It could be a hearing aid, individually tailored to the shape of the user's ear.That is why the process is more properly described as additive manufacturing.An American firm, 3D Systems, used one of its 3D printers to print a hammer for your correspondent, complete with a natty wood-effect handle and a metallised head.

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