THE BLOG

3D Printing Beyond the Hype

30/06/2014 13:18 BST | Updated 26/08/2014 10:59 BST

So at the moment every other day we see or hear news stories about 3D Printing and its limitless possibilities with space age projects from houses being built to skull transplants all coming from a 3D Printer. This almost completely futuristic depiction of the technology throws it so far out of zeitgeist it almost seems impossible to fathom, the media propels continually that is the next big thing and that one day we will all be 3D Printing our food, driving our 3D printed cars and building mini-mes continually all from the comfort of our own home.

The reality of 3D printing is that it has been around for a lot longer than people think but due to the rapid process in which the technology has evolved we are seeing the hype-train well in truly leave the station with no way of stopping. 3D Printing can do all these things the media propels so what is the problem with that; the problem i believe is that when new technology comes around it should not be screamed about but nurtured so that those who have contact with mainstream media do not just see the Gun that was 3D printed but the actual uses for an average person. What drives this interest is the unknown and the sci-fi like nature that we read about as children and the fact we have to one day stand up and say this is not real. The news is 3D Printing is real and on your doorstep.

My view is that 3D Printing is more than the wow factor it is shown to be, the new in-thing put on a pedal stool. 3D printing is more than a method in which to drop jaws but provides two key things in which it can be used the first being the life altering truly groundbreaking prints created by critical thinkers like the prosthesis industry using 3D Printing to give people the chance to be able to afford a functional hand or arm. The second is the day-to-day purpose used by the many, like any technology in the world there are those who use it and those who inspire those who use it. The pen is a brilliant example i use one on a daily basis its functional and creates the things i need, then there is Oscar Wilde give that man a pen and he will inspire a generation. So what we see is it is not necessarily the technology that is amazing but the people who decide to use it to its full potential and push the boundaries of human development who are amazing.

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3D printing for the general public due to the mass media portrayal seems completely out of reach due to the perceived complexity, need for advanced technological know-how and price. We see now though accessibility/affordability like never before with websites like 3DHubs, Shapeways and others providing platforms in which to engage the public and creative community. Websites like these allow the average Joe to embrace the technology by finding local people for support and guidance as opposed to them being driven out of the technology for fear of the unknown. This accessibility needs to be promoted alongside the 3d printed Car or the 3D printed chocolate bar, this will only show the next Oscar Wilde/ Isambard Kingdom Brunel/ Kris Akabusi that yesterdays pen can be as accessible as todays 3D Printer. The possibilities endless, limits unknown but above all we will never know them unless we give the pen of the future to those who want to write it.

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