In our studio, we have a MakerBot Thingomatic that is used to prototype new products. The objects that we create on it are not production quality, but they help us get an idea what a final product will look and feel like. We created a time-lapse video of the bot in motion to give you a better idea of what it does and how 3D printing works. The movie doesn't have any sound, and I wish that I could share with you the cute little electronic chirping noises the machine makes.
One of the neat things about 3D printing is that I was able to print an iPhone mount from Thingiverse to capture this process. We didn't end up using the iPhone footage because of video compression issues, but if you don't have access to a camera, using your phone is still a great way to create a timelapse video.
In the video our bot is making a small desktop planter that we would like to print in ceramics. We printed this prototype to see if this size planter would comfortably hold a larger air plant. While the machine we use to prototype with is far from perfect, it's a great low cost and quick way to get a feel for new objects.
If you have a MakerBot or access to a 3D printer, you can check out our Thingiverse page and download some of our files to print for yourself.