Tuesday, May 08, 2007

3D Printers Coming To A Suburb Near You

There is a story in the NY Times about 3D printers dropping in price, and soon to reach the consumer market. This gets my inner geek excited. Basically, there are several ways which this are achieved. One printer can use several different items. A student for example used liquid chocolate to make a designer chocolate bar.

It prints in layers. The layers are just barely melted and stacked up on top of each other until the completed object is build. Plastics, and resins are being used. One day, if you lose your cell phone cover, you can buy the specs for it online, and just rebuild it at home.

Of course, people will create bongs out of resin eventually, and other off label uses, but I am thinking this may spark a wave of home design and development of products. So far, much of the focus is on strictly on the gee wiz factor, but I am hopeful that it will end up reducing the costs for consumers in the long run for everyday items. When these things get quicker, there are alot of manufactured products that could likely be produced cheaper at home then using the energy to have it manufactured in a lab, packaged, trucked to a store, while you use your car to get it.