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Getting Beyond 3D Printing

Any visitor of this site no doubt is well versed in 3D printing and its concepts. However being in the tech bubble it is easy to forget that sometimes advancements and concepts that we take for granted are not exactly in the lexicon of 'Joe Public.' For a long time I believe that 3D printing outside of the internet has remained more or less of a quirky anomaly. And to be honest I don’t see anything changing in the near future.

For starters I do not believe price is a barrier for the mainstream adoption of 3D printing. This is not a case of VHS, HDTVs etc etc. No doubt 3D printers have continued to drop in price comparative to the first models available to consumers years ago. And yet these devices have remained little more than quirky anomalies when displayed to the average user

The real barrier I believe that stands in the way of 3D printing is a combination of education and practicality. To be frank, there is literally no such thing as a consumer friendly 3D printer. What are available to us are overly complex machines that unless you have some sort of certification in or countless hours of trial and error at 3D printing, you have more or less purchased a gigantic Rubix Cube. Good luck with that.

What will it take for 3D printing to become a game changing piece of tech then? It will not be an advancement in the printers themselves necessarily but rather the operating software for them. It needs to be given the PC treatment plain and simple. We need software that is not an obstruction to the layman but rather a user friendly experience. Harping on the PC analogy, Bill Gates said it best when he said:

“When Paul Allen and I started Microsoft over 30 years ago, we had big dreams about software,” recalls Gates. “We had dreams about the impact it could have. We talked about a computer on every desk and in every home. It’s been amazing to see so much of that dream become a reality and touch so many lives. I never imagined what an incredible and important company would spring from those original ideas.”

3D printing can replicate the revolution of the household computer. I can envision a future where children play around with the 3D printer at art class. Where a busy parent can turn to the 3D to make dinner when they are in a jam. And where a car mechanic can simply make 'that piece' instead of having to send away for it. But so long as the software that accompanies these machines is highly complex, it will continue to act as a gatekeeper and constrain the true limits of 3D printing.

Stringerbell2636d ago

Technically I did the opposite of what the contest asked for. But after playing around with a 3D printer my cousin purchased, I figured I'd have a bit of fun here!


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