3D printing is about to change the world, so I figured I better get you up to speed on it. Some say it will be bigger than the Internet, a tall order for sure, but one thing is for sure…it will be big.
So what is 3-D printing? Basically it is comprised of low cost (a few thousand dollars) printers than can print nearly anything in 3-D, from a coffee mug to toys to food to clothing to a car, the possibilities are almost endless. There is now even a 3D Pen for drawing in 3D. There is also some controversy surrounding all this. Like being able to print out guns, or making an exact replica of something, which could violate a copyright.
A lot of the momentum is coming from the company MakerBot and their Replicator 2 device. Working with companies like Autodesk, they have developed an online repository for objects called Thingiverse as well as an app for Mac, PC or iPad called 123D. There are also other websites devoted to 3D objects such as Instructables.
While the Replicator 2 is MakerBot’s big seller, recently they announced a 3D Digitizer prototype that allows you to actually scan an existing object to make a 3D replica of it. Very cool stuff.
I think all of this is pretty amazing, and the MakerBot Replicator 2 does look pretty awesome. When you start to think of the different type of materials that can be used, and the printers getting lower and lower priced, and the fact that it is accesable to normal people, adding in that huge libraries of objects are being developed, it’s all very cool. Of course like other recent technologies such as Google Glass, there are many unanswered questions that will come up. But solving those issues could be just as fascinating.
So a lot of this info can be overwhelming, but there is a quick way to learn almost all you need to know about 3D printing. One of my all time favorite YouTube channels is PBS Off Book. They produce fantastic documentaries on a range of great topics, typically centered around the creative arts. Best of all, these very watchable videos are less than ten minutes and pack a lot of info into a short amount of time.
They did one recently about 3D Printing and it’s a great primer to get you quickly up to speed (in 8 minutes or less):
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