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The 3D Printer Experience
Two busts printed at the 3D Printer Experience. Guess which one is a PureWow editor?

Ever wondered if you?d make an attractive statue? Neither had we, until we learned that at a just-opened shop in River North, you can print out your own head.

The 3D Printer Experience is a retail store meets studio meets education center, and it?s the brainchild of a team that includes an entertainment industry vet, a 21-year-old tech geek, an artist and several others who think the technology will soon transform business and society.

A Chicagoan and one of the company?s co-founders, Julie Friedman Steele, says a meeting with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak convinced her to show the public the potential of 3-D printing. The result is a place where you can see how the printers (including one worth $250,000) work and test-drive them by making simple things like design-your-own pendant necklaces for $20--or if you?re really hooked, by dreaming up and printing your own objects.

Not happy with your coffee mug? Print a better, totally functional one in nylon or ceramic for about $50. Have an idea for a new product but feel spooked by the thousands it costs to commission a prototype? It?s much cheaper to print it yourself.    

On our first visit we were content to start small--we had our noggin scanned and printed in blue plastic for $25. The adorable likeness--if we do say so ourself--is in the mail to our mother.

The 3D Printer Experience, 316 N. Clark St.; 312-896-3399 or

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