We wouldn’t say this is as revolutionary as personal computing… but it’s pretty darn close.
Just as Microsoft and Apple brought one computer to every household in the 1990s, Bre Pettis’s Makerbot Industries is now bringing 3D printing to the masses.
If you think that any object can be sliced into hundreds of thin horizontal planes, 3D printers construct physical objects by depositing layers successively on top of each another. Companies have used the technology since the 1980s to rapidly prototype new products in development. This year, Makerbot Industries started selling personal 3D printers for just $1,299.
Think about it. For the price of a MacBook Pro, you can “print” a physical, 3D version of any object, smaller than a bowling ball, from the comfort of your home. This is absolutely incredible. Break the handle of your hammer? No need to go to the store to buy a new one – just download a 3D rendering of the file from the internet and print a new one. Need a new nozzle for your hose? Print one.
And the technology can be used to print out many parts that fit together – check out this Rubik’s cube for the blind, printing instructions available as a free download on Makerbot’s sister website, Thingiverse.
Makerbots aren’t being used for much more than printing shower curtain rings at the moment, but the possibilities are almost endless.
Ideas with the ability to capture the imagination are ripe for exponential growth. 3D printers that print in glass and silver already exist. The next generations of this technology should be able to print a greater variety of materials in less time at less cost. Imagine a 3D printer capable of printing circuit boards. Break that remote control? Print a new one. Want a new phone? Download and print.
This is one of the most compellingly inevitable technological progressions we have seen in ages—so we’d bet on mass adoption in the next few years.Read Full Post Comments