If you haven’t seen it yet, check out MakieLab. They recently launched an iPad app to let you design your own toy (a doll), have it 3D printed, then delivered to you. This brought me back to a theme that I think will be significant in 3D printing moving forward -- building interactive experiences.
MakieLab is a great example of additive manufacturing as an enabling technology. The end consumer doesn’t care how the dolls get made, 3D printing just happens to be the process that can turn a one-off custom design around quickly. This isn’t an example of consumers adopting 3D printing, it’s an example of smart people finding a way to use 3D printing to provide a service not otherwise possible. The user is interacting with the process (creating the design), but how the object is made is abstracted from the user.
I think 3D printing will start to augment interactive entertainment, but in a more direct way than hitting the “buy now” button to have your meticulously curated video game avatar shipped to your house in 3 days. Personal 3D printing will...
Those of you who have read our bios know that we each hold degrees in various engineering disciplines. We’ve also each held jobs with defense contractors and/or Fortune 500 companies. This can only mean one thing….
WE LOVE ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS!
Because acronyms and abbreviations are extremely commonplace in our workplace, it is easy to forget that the world is not comprised entirely of graphing calculator toting geeks. Of the four of us, I’m probably the weakest technically. That makes me the one most likely to speak out on behalf of the “normal guy” and make sure that we make decisions that help to further our credibility in the eyes of the general public, not just the tech-literate elite.
I will be writing a series of posts that try to cut through the technical mumbo-jumbo of engineer speak to parlay what 3D printing means to the family man who is more apt to know how long to set the microwave to cook dinner rather than how the microwave actually works.
This post will be constrained to a 30,000-foot overview of 3D printing, familiarizing everyone with some basic concepts and a few definitions laying a basic foundation for future posts. Without further ado, let’s jump in!
By now, most people have computer printers in their homes and/or their offices. While very few of us care to really understand the intricacies of how they work, we’ve come to rely on them as a consistent and efficient way to reproduce information. We use them to print birthday invitations. We use them to print out directions to a relative’s home. We use them to print out coupons for a local sale. We don’t give them much thought. They are just there and they just work (at least, most...