(CBS News) The process of sculpting objects from a digital model is about to take off in a big way. Even President Obama is a fan and called it the future of manufacturing. Almost any object can be created with a 3D printer, including shoes, toys, machinery, weapons and even human body parts.
Professor Hod Lipson, a leading authority on 3D printing technology from Cornell University and author of the book "Fabricated: The New World of 3-D Printing," said he thinks the technology is "just beginning."
Lipson brought in a typical machine to illustrate the process to "CBS This Morning: Saturday" hosts Rebecca Jarvis and Anthony Mason. The machine was able to replicate a plastic mug completely.
"This is one of several kinds of machines that can basically fabricate things, almost anything, by depositing material and building it up," he said.
This machine had the limitation of only utilizing plastic, but he said other machines have different capabilities. He also explained that the medical community is already benefiting from this technology to make replicas of certain types of implants, like a hip implant.
Lipson said that there is much more these devices can do.
"What's unfolding now is bioprinting, the ability to print with live cells," he said. "There, you're not printing permanent implants. They're living cells."
For professor Hod Lipson's full interview, watch the video in the player above.