All I want for Christmas is a 3D printer

Submitted by acohill on Sun, 09/21/2014 - 12:22

I get asked all the time a variant of the same question: "Isn't this whole Internet thing just about done?" What they are trying to ask is if most of the interesting stuff has already happened. If we were talking about the impact of the automobile, then we are only at about 1920, when Henry Ford began mass producing cars and they really started to become affordable.

Another things people ask me is, "What can you do with all that bandwidth?"

Well, how about making things? Dremel, a major manufacturer of hobby and consumer power tools, has announced it will be releasing a 3D printer in time for Christmas. For $1000, you get a small, well-packaged 3D printer with the software you need to start making stuff. And you will want that fast Internet connection to start downloading and uploading the CAD files that are used to drive the 3D printer.

I first became interested in 3D printing twenty years ago when I read The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. Stephenson, in that novel, predicted very accurately a world where nearly anything could be made on the spot in your home by a device no larger than a refrigerator. In the book, carbon, which is basically clean, cheap dirt, was used as the raw product, so most finished "printed" items were made of diamond.

The fun is just beginning....onward to infinity and beyond!

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