3D printing company brings futuristic feng shui to High Point Market

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Victor Ly-Tong huddles around a MacBook with two other engineers debating the next design, making sure they got every inch perfect before they go to print.

Humming in the background stands a steel prism roughly 10 feet tall. The blue light reflecting off the chrome 3D printer exists in sharp contrast to the old brick mill where dozens of other vendors lay out their decor for the High Point Market.

"Seeing an idea come to life is really what I love the most about my job," Ly-Tong said.

He is part of the Print the Future Innovation Team, working on a new office chair to print out for market customers.

Making something out of nothing but 3D renderings on a computer program is what the Innovation Team does best. Vancouver-based Print the Future just opened in February.

"From an inspiration, through the concept, through the 3D file through to print, that can be as short as 24 hours," said Amy Kittel, the group's events director.

The company's CEO has a background in interior design, but Print the Future plans to branch out into printing just about everything after starting with furniture.

Tables, chairs, coffee tables and stools could be found in their space.

"We have a lot of people come by and they're really amazed by exactly how far technology has advanced," Kittel said.

Pouring recyclable plastic beads into a funnel, engineers can print out a piece of furniture with precision.

"There's no waste, it adds exactly what you need," Ly-Tong said. The Innovation Team says it takes about 12 to 14 hours to print.

"Traditional manufacturing that can take eight to 12 weeks before you might have a finished product," Kittel said.

Pieces can be broken back down into beads and made into something entirely different. Kittel says the machines can now adapt to other materials including metal, clay, wood and more.

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