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3-D Printing Ushers In the Era of Pirated Physical Goods |

The benefit to society is huge,” they write. “No more shipping huge amount of products around the world. No more shipping the broken products back. No more child labour. We’ll be able to print food for hungry people.

I have been saying for some time that the next game changer is mass 3d printing. When home computing first arrived on the scene (when the only way to have a computer was to build it from a kit bought at Radio Shack), the general attitude was that computers were too complex and only useful for governments and large corporations; when personal computers such as the Commodore PET and ultimately Apple II came on the scene, the general attitude wasa these were not particularly useful, but fun toys. Yes, they included word processing, but so did electric typewriters with tape drives, and the output was actually useable. It took until 1984, when Apple demonstrated what we would now call the “killer app,” which stemmed from the ability to print readable, attractive documents in a variety of type faces, for personal computing to get traction. And it did not really take off until the idea of interconnectivity became mainstream.

3-D Printing And Pirate Bay Usher In the Era of Pirated Physical Goods | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

So it is with 3d printers or replicators, which have been used in industrial systems for years — these extremely expensive devices can “print” objects from digital plans. Parts of airplane parts, for instance, where the cost of setting up molds and dies for a limited number of units is too great, are routinely produced using 3d printers.

Recently, 3d printer kits have become available for less than $1,000. These can replicate objects in a variety of materials and multiple colours. The marketing of these devices is a bit cultish, geekish, under the radar. This is for a reason — until there is a killer app, the mainstream resistance to the idea is the same as it was for computers. Researchers and start-up manufacturers are hoping that users themselves will stumble onto the killer app — sttrangely, at the moment the most likely application that will stir the public is the food preparation capabilities — you can “print” a cake in any shape; or “print” chocolate int he shape of you cat (maybe an exaggeration, but not by much).

BUT: once the killer app is found, once these things are ubiquitous, the entire marketplace as we know it will change — it will be possible to order a shirt online, download a digital file and “print” the product yourself. This will be possible for anything (you know the nob on the dryer that broke — you will just punch in a description of the part, and print out the replacement).

Even if the “at home” printing is not the end-game (and I see no reason why it won’t), mass production will be a thing of the past. Anything you want will be printed to order. Need new shoes? Have them “printed”  for you by whichever brand you want.

This sounds fantastic. But the article linked here talks about the pirating of objects in exactly the same way music is pirated, or software. I assure you that nobody who bought an Apple II or a Commodore would have believed you if you said that ultimately this useless object on your desk would replace record stores.

via 3-D Printing And Pirate Bay Usher In the Era of Pirated Physical Goods | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

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One Response

  1. […] of a high speed racing car that is smaller than a grain of sand. It was made using high speed 3d printing, a subject I have raved about previously on this blog. But the news is not that a 3D printer could […]

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