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3-D printing: How cool is that?

CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -- When people see Mike Bradshaw's 3-D printer in action for the first time, there's usually a rush of in-drawn breath followed by an astonished silence.

Guided by a computer, the print head seems to vibrate as it traces intricate patterns, depositing layers of melted plastic as thin as spun spider silk. At first, the project -- a chess piece, screw or an almost endless variety of other objects -- looks like a formless puddle, but as time passes and the printer's platform descends by increments, it begins to take shape.

Then come the inevitable questions: How does it work? What can it make? Where can I get one?

In Chattanooga, those questions are being answered by a growing community of 3-D printing fans and early adopters of the technology such as Bradshaw, the entrepreneur-in-residence at Company Lab -- or CoLab -- a local small business accelerator.

Read more from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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