3D Printing To “Go The Way of Virtual Reality”?

By on March 23rd, 2013 in Ideas


We’re reading a piece from last year by Christopher Mims in the MIT Technology Review, in which he dumps rather strongly on the notion that “any object can be rapidly synthesized with a little bit of energy and raw materials.”
He says: 
There is a species of magical thinking practiced by geeks whose experience is computers and electronics—realms of infinite possibility that are purposely constrained from the messiness of the physical world—that is typical of Singularitarianism, mid-90s missives about the promise of virtual reality, and now, 3-D printing.
While Virtual Reality has indeed settled into a niche, 3D printing could end up in a very different place. Mims says the concept isn’t just early, “it’s absurd”. While it’s true that 3D printing will never “reproduce all the goods on which we rely”, that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. 
Just as YouTube, cable and on-demand shows replaced the three-channel TV world of the 1950’s and 1960’s, we’ll see 3D printing technology continue to evolve in the next decades. The improvements we’ve observed since this blog started in 2007 have been massive, and the rate of change has only increased. From homemade unreliable kits printing blobby demi-objects in a noisy fury, we now have mostly reliable ready-to-rock devices from large, reputable companies, capable of printing in very fine resolutions. And don’t even ask about the improvements in commercial-level 3D printers, which can now print in probably hundreds of different materials. 
Personal 3D printers will emerge using completely new approaches that will continue to refine the product and its capabilities. Numerous ventures now enable easier creation of or access to fantastic 3D models. Where this will end up will certainly be much more than we see today, and should enable people to make increasing amounts of personally customized stuff. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!