3D Printing and The Future of Stuff

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The time will come that we will be able to create nearly anything in our homes by 3d printing it – with designs downloaded from the internet no knowledge of the printed object is obligatory. Are you short one bowl when serving dinner for 6? Just Google the bowl design, send it to the printer and if you’ve got it loaded up with enough material (ABS, PLA, metal) you’ve got a bowl of your choice in no-time.

3D Printing craftmanship
3D Printing craftmanship
It’s clear that the advantages will be overwhelming – probably the best aspect of the deal is that every design that will circulate the web will be open-source, just as you are already editing the .doc files that you download when you get an email from a colleague. Don’t like the size of the coffee cup-design you find on the web? Just open a photoshop-style program for 3d printing (phsyibleshop?) and resize the object times 1.2, or whatever you wish.

This freedom of being able to manipulate every object that we own will bring back the old-time craftsmanship that almost disappeared in the past years. Like your grandfather maybe made furniture himself, with details that he liked so much, the next generation of artisans will use computer power to virtually create anything, and then really immortalizing the object by 3d printing it.

I believe we will see an enormous evolution of how ordinary objects look and function when everyone becomes a designer and manufacturer themselves. Good ideas will spread rapidly and will be copied all over the world. These ideas will be adapted a little more by individuals so to meet their personal preferences. Stuff will become personal again.

3d printed windpipe
Boy’s life saved with 3d printed windpipe

The downside of 3d printing is that humanity will be tested for integrity and compassion. When it will be so easy to just 3d print a pistol, how many strangers will be carrying a firearm? Countermeasures will follow if forms of extra security like Google Glasses, which can record anything you look at. The eternal freedom vs. privacy debate will reach heights never seen before, when the 3d printing business matures.

Also, when 3d printing starts te become a household-name, manufacterers of simple objects that can be 3d printed too will have to change their business plans quick; or else they will render themselves obsolete in a matter of years. That being said, when every consumer becomes a producer of goods, what will happen to copyright? When I design something at home, how do I know that I’m not violating a patent on the other side of the Atlantic?

When good, new ideas start turning up all over the world and are materialized through 3d printing, it will become obvious that it is not a good thing to keep designs for yourself and use them only for means of profit. Hopefully, this will bring humanity closer together by helping eachother achieve their goals and dreams.

How do you think human beings are going to be affected – in the deepest sense – by the arrival of 3d printing?

Warning; 3D printers should never be left unattended. They can pose a firesafety hazard.