I have to confess that I’ve only recently heard of 3D printing, but the technology and its implications are truly fascinating. With the correct 3D models loaded up in your printer, you could create all sorts of amazing things.
Take Scott Summit, for instance. This guy figured out how to make an acoustic guitar using a 3D printer. Granted, not every single component of the guitar came from the printer, but the bulk of it did. Of course, it took about $3,000 of plastic to make the thing, but the possibilities to improve the process are endless.
I won’t try to go into all of the details of how 3D printers work, but the basic premise is that a printer takes a material, heats it up, and then starts to form it into the design you instructed it to create. It’s an additive process where each tiny layer is “printed,” and the object literally begins to take shape in front of you. Take a look at this video below to see it in action.
And it’s not just plastics and vinyls used in these 3D printers. With a properly equipped printer, you can create intricately detailed metalwork.
So, if every family could have a 3D printer in their home, what would our world look like? I just finished reading Makers by Cory Doctorow, and he presents some fascinating visions of what a society might look like a few years in the future with this kind of technology. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re interested in exploring the concepts behind 3D printing further.
If you had a 3D printer, what would you make?