Background

I was always a fan of Bre Pettis, starting when he was making weekend project videos with cool electronics.  I even bought an Arduino and had a small taste of robotics.  I’m amazed by how cheaper technology is giving people a chance to try out new things.

Discovery of 3D Printing

I saw a video from MakerBot, a company Bre started.  I was mesmerized by it!  I stopped by a hacklab in Toronto and saw the MakerBot assembled.  Unfortunately, the machine was broken at the time but I saw some samples it created, one of them being a contained with a screw cap.  It was really cool.  It’s an awesome idea that I hope really catches on.

A 3D printer reads a 3D model and creates it by creating thin layers of plastic or other material and adding another layer until it reaches the top and the object is created.

Benefits

Imagine if someone could download a 3D model of anything and print it as may times as he or she likes without having to find it in a store or online.  It could inspire people to learn 3D modelling to create their own objects that can give to people.

It can even bring manufacturing back to the people and encourage local creations.  People can sell their 3D prints and use some of the profits for maintaining the 3D printer.

It’s still expensive and evolving

The MakerBot is about $1300 and the Cupcake CNC is about $700; they both must be assembled and it is not like building legos or a new PC.  It takes a fair amount of time from what I’ve read and does require some electronics experience such as soldering.

The cheapest commercial-grade 3D printer I’ve seen is $9000, not including additional parts for printing and cleaning the printer surface.  In addition, I would have to buy a small oven for removing wax and sanitizing the objects.  In other words, it’s not the same as buying an expensive office printer and instantly being able to use it.

Conclusion

I love 3D printing.  I think it’s a necessity in order for technology to advance forward.  At the moment, I cannot afford it and I lack the physical space to set up the hardware at the moment.  It would change the way we see manufacturing and even make it more prevalent across the world.  There’s a lot of money to put up-front for anyone who wants to get their hands on a 3D printer now.

I have no doubt that it will change the world and I’ll definitely get one once it reaches my price range and becomes more user-friendly.