3D printing continues to evolve, with printers improving in precision, speed and cost efficiency. While some high end machines can print in materials ranging from plastic to metal and even ceramic, this is the first time I’ve heard of a 3D printer that can output soft and squishy materials, like clay.
The Hyrel 3D printer offers the ability to swap out their regular PLA/ABS plastic filament extruder with a special unit which can extrude soft materials. The printer can be loaded with air-dry modeling clay, Play-Doh, Plasticine, Silicone or even Sugru, a durable, self-setting and flexible rubber compound that’s good for fixing and hacking all kinds of stuff. Here’s some footage of the Hyrel outputting Sugru and then some Play-Doh:
I’m not exactly sure why you’d want to sculpt 3D objects in Play-Doh, since it’s not designed to harden, but clay or Sugru could produce some interesting results for sure. And for Play-Doh fans, it sure beats a Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop.