Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Much has been made of consumer 3D printers like Makerbot's Replicator and the open-source RepRap. But for those not yet willing to shell out thousands of dollars for their own machine, Shapeways offers 3D printing as a mail-order service. And its new Queens, NY factory is now the biggest production facility for consumer 3D printing in the world. Just one of Shapeways' industrial 3D printers, which use lasers to fuse nylon dust, can print a thousand objects in a day, with far higher resolution than a consumer machine as well as intricate features like interlocking and nested parts. The company hopes to have more than fifty of those printers up and running within a year. And it also offers printing in materials that aren't attainable at home, like gold, silver, ceramic, sandstone and steel."