3D Printing

The never-ending celebration of 3D printing is grating. The technology has been around for a couple decades and it feels like old news to me but the current level of excitement has fevered. I guess the idea that before long you will be able to order things from Amazon and have them print in your home a few minutes later is a hypnotic vision for the future of commerce.  I read about 3D printed candy and printed shoes the other day (http://tinyurl.com/zqecncs) the candies looked unappetizingly weird and the footwear looked to be  goofy rejects from the Croc design team. No, my point in writing this has nothing to do with the aesthetics of 3D printed shoes or my perceived tastes of printed candy, but more along the lines of how the hype of 3D printing doesn’t sync-up with the realities of 3D printing. The imagined delivery speed and convenience are mesmerizingly futuristic and people seem to want to get onboard now even while realizing that it is still just a lot of hype. Maybe these 3D printing fans are just those looking to make up for their own personal strife for not buying into other technology when it was in its infancy. If I had a printer at my desk would I print myself a Reese’s peanut butter cup if I could? Maybe. Do people expect that this is possible? Maybe. As I stated earlier, the realities of 3D Printing feels a long way off to me but if it were possible there would surely be trade-offs. Is the premise of the excitement around the technology that people are willing to trade quality for speed? (http://tinyurl.com/zfuvb2q) Will this 3D printer consumer think,  “hey these shoes are hideous but I printed them myself at home”? Will we have the hilarious hashtag #pinterestfail replaced with #3Dprinterfail? The technology will evolve and improve to a level that will eventually include a wider variety of materials and will eventually offer real value for sure. And, yes I can already imagine a day not far off when a person can immediately print a disposable version of a lost car key or a medicine that just ran out in the middle of the night. Of course, these need-driven applications like these may not be as sensational as a 3D printed car (http://tinyurl.com/pakbeg5but they feel lot more worthy of discussion.

3D Printed Car

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Shoe