An intricately designed nylon mesh egg large enough to have been hatched by a dinosaur may portend the future of custom manufacturing. Prominently displayed in the window of the Hugo Boss store in Sloane Square in the Knightsbridge section of London, the 24-inch-tall egg was created using additive manufacturing.

One of 200 custom-made entries in this year's Faberge Big Egg Hunt, an annual event staged each year for charity, the big egg is important to manufacturing because it was created using a method called laser sintering, in which layers of material are added to create a three-dimensional object or part from a 3-D computer-aided design. This particular egg is so complex in its design -- with mesh and apertures throughout -- that it couldn't have been fashioned using conventional manufacturing techniques.

"The egg has more empty space than solid space," observes David Bennion, sales and marketing director at Ogle Models, a rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing firm. Ogle produced the one-off creation on its EOS laser-sintering machine over 42 hours and 46 minutes.

"We normally focus on industry applications in aerospace, medical, automotive and the like," says Stuart Jackson, UK regional manager for EOS Electro Optical Systems GmbH of Krailling, Germany, which makes additive manufacturing machines. "This laser-sintered egg is a perfect example of the vast possibilities the technology can offer. Parts can be created that would not have been possible with conventional manufacturing technologies."