After watching a truly inspiring story about how 3D printing helped a carpenter rapidly develop a mechanical hand to replace his missing fingers, I am fully convinced this is the beginning of a new frontier and I want to get on board!
The World is Your Oyster!
You can make so many things. Just look down at your desk and you will see all sorts of little plastic things that can be made with this printer. Now imagine the next time you have "an invention idea".
When I was a kid I drove RC cars. With this I could design my own chassis, frame, rims. Are you a fan of slot cars? Well, you can design your own car.
Do you have a great idea for a unique chess set? Have at it!
We are on the tipping point for the price of these things to go down...drastically down. A really good laser printer back in the day were as expensive as these things are now. Soon everyone will own one just as they all now own a printer.
Prices are all over the place for 3D printers and who knows which one is the best and what the differences are between them. The one I've featured here is made by MakerBot and is the top of the line, cutting edge version with an 8 week lead time for shipment. At $3,000 including the service plan, it seems more expensive than some but then you get the choice of using PLA OR ABS and you can mix colors on the fly making something that is more than just one color. It all sounds really cool to me.
No More Outsourcing
Just imagine, instead of coming up with an idea, working with a company in China, drawing up a contract for mass production, esimating orders/shipping dates/wharehousing products/order fulfillment, you can just design the widget and sell the plans online. The customer pops the plan for the toy into the online shopping cart, downloads it and sends the print job to the printer. They can pick the color(s) of ABS or PLA they want to use.
Right now, if you have a missing finger or hand, you can purchase this printer and download the plans to build a replacement appendage. JUST THINK ABOUT HOW POWERFUL THAT IS!
ReplicatorG - send projects to the printer
Art of Illusion - CAD software to create 3D widgets and export to ReplicatorG as STL
Thingiverse - Repository for CAD plans and much more!
I have no idea the investment of time and intelligence it will take to even have a clue how to build someting simple like a cube, let alone the next best widget but I'm intrigued to say the least.
I'm often conflicted on what direction to take when confronted with super cool technologies like this. Do I drop everything and take the plunge into the world of 3D printing? It's not an easy decision to make when we are talking about thousands of dollars just to get started and no knowledge of the learning curve involved. I think for now I'll at least download RepliatorG on a slow day and tinker around a bit.
What are your thoughts?