3D Printers - Rise of the hobbyist, fall of mass production?

Dale Webb By Dale Webb, 2nd Aug 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/dfisu70y/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Technology

My views on the silent upcoming of the 3D Printer and the effects it could have.

Sounds Cool!

The idea of being able to print objects in a solid 3D form sounds pretty cool, the fact that it can now be done within your own home sounds awesome. I am quite a creative person, as a child I liked to create things out of old cardboard boxes, CD cases and pretty much anything I could find. There are also many other creative people out there with great ideas, but getting the idea down into initial plans and prototypes is just not financially possible for everyone, so they cannot take them any further. Now, with 3D printers we can quickly create a prototype. That sounds cool.

What could happen now?

The internet has given birth to many successful startups over the years such as Google and Facebook, these come from talented people who have their idea and create from their room or garage. This was made possible because of the simplicity of creating websites with computer software with very little or no cost. I believe with 3D printing that this could now happen with the manufacturing industry. We could soon start seeing home startups making fantastic ideas into reality and making big money, and I really hope so.

What about the Average Joe and Joan?

What about the Average Joe and Joan, you may ask. Well, if you do have a 3D printer and you want to make something as just a one-off - I think that is perfectly fine. In fact, I predict that this is where 3D printers can lead us. Buying designs from the internet and printing them off at home. This really could revolutionise manufacturing.

The RepRap Project

By now you're probably thinking, "Could I print another printer?". Sounds silly, but the answer is yes. The RepRap project as the RepRap wiki describes it is "a free desktop 3D printer capable of printing plastic objects". It goes on to say "RepRap is a self-replicating machine - one that anyone can build given time and materials. It also means that - if you've got a RepRap - you can print lots of useful stuff".
That sounds really cool and Star Trek-y! Machines capable duplicating itself!
This will set you back £300, amazing. Another great thing about this project is that it's Open-Source, I love that. It's also the first of the low-cost 3D printers.

Copycats :(

OK, enough praise. We have seen many a time the companies in China who copy Apple's latest and greatest product every year and most recently Apple it's self. The internet is full of software pirates breaking software licence code and distributing out. Now that 3D printing is on the horizon, could we now see an explosion of stolen designs? I think most definitely.

Watch this space...

This is going to be something big, I really hope that we hear success stories of people who have built up something from nothing! Thanks for reading :)

Tags

Building, Construction, Hobbyist, Manufacturing, Mass Production, Materials, Printers, Prototyping

Meet the author

author avatar Dale Webb
I'm a technology enthusiast, I will be reporting on the latest Web and Smartphone Apps primarily and the movements in the computer sector. I hope you enjoy reading

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