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Material Sample Kit, Shapeways, $29.99

You don’t have to own your own 3D printer to get into 3D printing. In fact, the quality of the prints you can get from a contract printing service like Shapeways is likely to exceed the quality of prints you’ll get out of a consumer-level 3D printer. Contract printing prices are dropping all the time, and commercial printing services offer parts printed in unusual materials like stainless steel and ceramic. Shapeways sells a basic sample kit, shown above, so you can get a hands-on feel for the finished products. It comes with a $25 gift voucher good towards your first purchase of a 3D-printed object, so basically it’s a $25 gift certificate with a $4 materials sampler.

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.

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