Suddenly there seems to be a huge convergence on the topic 3D printing. I’ll share some links below, but perhaps the best way to first experience the wonders of 3D printing is to visit a fab lab like the one we have here at MICA. We are in the middle of a revolution that is changing our world. What was once either nearly impossible or prohibitively expensive is now becoming easily attainable. Power is decentralizing as more and more people control the means of production. Even the printers, some known as makerbots, are part of their own creation as they print the parts for the next printer to be assembled.
The convergence of interest can be seen in the following stories: Here is a segment from NPR’s Planet Money show on why 3D printing is such a big evolution that demands our attention, these printers will really change the way we live. (listen to the whole story or read the transcript.) This article from the Chronicle of Higher Education by Brian Matthews argues that 3D printers will become an essential part of our lives. Last week the latest issue of the Horizon Report by the New Media Consortium came out, and guess what was on the cover? You’re right, a 3D printer. They see “time to adoption” as 4 to 5 years, but personally I think adoption will come sooner in 2 to 3 years.
I encourage you to look into 3D printing and visit a fab lab on your campus. If your campus doesn’t have one, then the time is now to lobby for one. To see some of the printers and some objects created by them, take a look at my set of photos on flickr.