If you're looking for a glimpse of how 3D printing could change the kitchens and bathrooms of the near future, you don't need to look much farther than American Standard's latest line of faucets -- although only a select few will be able to actually take one home today.
According to the company, the new DXV models are the first of their kind to be made commercially available, and, although "reinventing the way that water is brought to the user" may be overstating things a little bit, they are undeniably impressive.
As you might expect, the faucets aren't made with off-the-shelf 3D printers, but instead use a process known as selective laser sintering to create the elaborate designs out of metal -- a process that American Standard says takes about 24 hours for each faucet. Despite the unorthodox designs, however, American Standard says the faucets work just as well as a more traditional one, and meet all the usual standards.
The downside is that while they are technically a commercial product, the expected $12,000 to $20,000 price tag still effectively makes them more of a proof-of-concept. Given the pace of changes in 3D printing, however, you can no doubt expect cheaper, and even more elaborate designs, to show up before too long.