My garage door was broken and inoperable.
For the past few days my wife and I have parked our cars a few houses down in publicly designated spots in our homeowners association. Today I worked from home so Madden Garage Doors could repair our door.
Now it's as good as new. We can now put our cars in the garage, and all is right with the world.
Having to work from home to greet the repairman made me long for a 3D printer. Many of these devices print using ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic. Like just a normal printer puts the ink on the paper to form the correct letters, 3D printers print by laying down a very thin layer of goop, and an ultraviolet light immediately passes over the material and cures it. The process is repeated over an over until the desired item has been built up one layer at a time. Unlike a lathe which strips material away from a block to reveal the desired shape trapped inside, this type of 3D printing is an additive process. Although 3D printers typically use ABS plastic, there are some that can print using titanium, aluminum, or cement. The alternative-material devices use lasers to cure metallic powder into solid metal.
There's a famous song "If I had a hammer..." Well if I had a 3D printer that printed titanium, I could have printed my replacement part and spent a normal day at the office.
Homework is alive in the lab.