One of the most incredible things about technology is that when something is first created – an innovation that breaks the mould, challenges all that came before it, and changes the way that people use technology – it can take a long time to become accepted.
This can be because of habit; people don’t like to change the way that they have always done something. It can be because of fear; they don’t trust the technology to do the task correctly or safely. Or it can be because of cost; new technology has a price premium when it is new, and so people don’t bother with it until it because more cost effective.
3D printing has followed almost the same track as all exciting new developments that came before it. When it first emerged, it was used as a tool by universities, large scale manufacturers – those with money and a vested interest in making use of it.
But since then, 3D printing has not only become more cost effective, but it has proven that it can solve challenges accurately time and time again, and more people have come to find that the habit of a career can easily be changed once they see the benefits.
We believe that 3D printing holds a vast number of opportunities for people, but many of them are not taking hold of those advantages for one reason or another. See yourself below?
- The school
Is there a better way to learn than to do? 3D printing is the perfect balance between hands on learning, and theoretical science, and enables young people to gain a much clearer idea of robotics, software, and design.
- The café owner
It may feel like a big initial investment, but having a 3D printing machine in your café is (let’s be honest) a huge point of difference between yourself and the big corporations that are filling our streets with branded coffee. Why not create coffee cups with a 3D printer, host 3D printing parties, and invite others to try it out as a clever way to get them in the door?
- The librarian
Not an obvious choice perhaps, but librarians could make fantastic use of a 3D printing machine that can re-use recycled plastic by creating bookmarks for customers. It’s a great way to explore a material’s lifecycle and create something tangible for those who love reading.
- The artist
It’s not difficult to see how an artist could use a 3D printing machine, but what is surprising is that so few artisans or craftspeople are exploring this new method of sculpture. We predict a huge rise in 3D printing artists as the technology’s popularity increases. Artists may be traditional, but the next generation will experiment with new technologies to create.
- …anyone, really!
There is absolutely nothing stopping you from trying out a 3D printer – many universities have them, and on open days are willing to allow visitors to try them out as part of their discovery. Costs are rapidly decreasing, and once you’ve made the initial investment, you can play, mould, design, and start again as many times as you want.
3D printing is certainly not going to be the last technology that starts off slow in the public consciousness and then grows popular, but it’s the one that we feel most passionate about. If you have never used one before, why not try one out and see what you’re missing?