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Creative Content is King in a 3-D Printed World

Updated on April 2, 2013

Make way for a technological game changer - the 3-D printer.

Imagine downloading a digital file to your computer and printing out new frames for your glasses - in a tasteful damask pattern (in two-tone green to match your phone of course!)

Sound silly? Not if you're paying attention to what's bubbling up from the technology sandboxes.

3-D printing excites me! Remember the now-legendary split infinitive that glued us to our 1960s couches for an hour of futuristic fascination under the steady hand of Captain James T. Kirk? Well....we're doing it.

We're on the cusp of an explosion of new and mind-boggling products - customized and personalized to our one-of-a-kind taste. Get ready to have access to just about anything you can imagine from intricate jewellery printed complete with your personal inscription - to your custom-designed house, printed on site in concrete. It's happening. Now.

Photo: 3D printed ball cluster by manuelfloresv [CC BY-SA 2.0] on Flickr

It's an Incubator

3-D printing brings products to life

A 3-D printer works pretty much like your ink jet printer - a nozzle prints a thin layer of material (plastic for example) on a surface. Then it prints another layer on top of that, and again and again. Between each pass of the print head, the surface drops (or the print head rises) a little bit, building up multiple layers and creating a three dimensional object.

That's a way over-simplified description of the 3-D printing process so you'd better watch this video to see for yourself.

Will 3-D printing Change the World?

A new way to make things

The official term for 3-D printing is "additive manufacturing". So what's that mean?

Ever heard the old story about the sculptor who's asked how he can make a horse from block of stone? - "It's easy", he replies, "I just remove everything that doesn't look like a horse." Like sculptors, a lot of what we make today uses "subtractive" milling and manufacturing methods which waste time and materials - like drilling holes and cutting materials. Additive manufacturing puts the material we need in exactly the right places without waste.

3-D printing has been around for a while now, but mostly out of the public eye. It's early applications were in the engineering and design world for rapid prototyping. Prototypes enable industrial designers to actually handle or demonstrate a model of a part or assembly during the design phase. This allows them to fine-tune the characteristics, appearance or functionality of a product before it goes into production. These high quality (very expensive) printers can produce amazing quality using various materials from resins and plastics to metal (Yes - metal!).

Now they're going mainstream.

It's a Terminator

Survival of the smartest

3-D printing is a disruptive technology - that means some big old businesses with their industrial age mindset are gonna fall. The best example of this phenomenon is the digital camera (ironically invented by an engineer from Eastman Kodak - remember Kodachrome?).

I read somewhere about "Progress" being the opposite of "Congress" - Progress moves us forward and Congress....well, you get my point. Progressive big old businesses are already scrambling to stay in the game by figuring out how to embrace the change that's underway. They'll be able to adapt fairly quickly and more and more products will be "printed" as opposed to "manufactured" in the traditional sense.

The REALLY good news is that millions of new small businesses will spring to life - innovating, creating and enabling our 3-D printed world! I can't wait.

Opinion Poll

Do you think you'll ever have a 3-D printer in your home or office?

See results

It's a Replicator

3-D printing printers

If you're still with me, here's the point of my Star Trek reference in the intro - the replicator.

The RepRap project is designed to advance 3-D printing technology to enable 3-D printers to print the parts to make more 3-D printers. Got that? At this point the RepRap project has developed four 3-D printer designs that can successfully print many or most of the plastic components to make a replica of that printer. The goal is an "evolution" in the technology that enables the printers to print the parts that are not yet technically possible like motors and electronic controls.

What's the point? What if in the not-too-distant-future we could ship an inexpensive RepRap printer and some materials to some remote village in India. They download some files and print out the parts to make another printer, and then those two printers print out parts to make even more printers. Someone's suddenly in the manufacturing business!

But wait, there's more! What if there were literally millions of design files available for download, enabling all the people who now have 3-D printers to print out shoes - and prescription eyeglasses - and dishes - and a whole bunch of stuff we haven't even thought of yet. That's a new local economy.

We're still a long ways away from delivering Captain Jean-Luc Picard's "Tea, Earl Grey, hot" - but the kettle's plugged in.

A bit of nostalgia - Inspiration from Amazon

The original Star Trek television series was an inspiration to many impressionable baby boom kids like me. It portrayed a universe where all races were equal and even a United Federation of Planets was possible.

(16x20) Star Trek Spock and Captain Kirk TV Poster Print
(16x20) Star Trek Spock and Captain Kirk TV Poster Print

Your media room isn't complete without this classic Star Trek Team.

 
Star Trek: The Complete Original Series (Seasons 1-3) [Blu-ray]
Star Trek: The Complete Original Series (Seasons 1-3) [Blu-ray]

Fun to watch this series fifty years later and compare today's technology to Gene Roddenberry's vision. Communicators your wear on your belt, stun weapons, electronic reading devices, and yes....replicators.

 
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Complete Series
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Complete Series

Star Trek TNG aired 21 years after the original series. A must have.

178 episodes over 7 seasons

 

It's a Customator

The age of mass customization

We're already successfully building out the mass customization business. Zazzle is a prime example of how this works in the 2-D printing world (even though they're printing on three-dimensional objects).

Looking for the perfect pet bowl?...with your pet's name on it (in Garamond Italic)?....and their picture...? Done! It'll be in your mailbox Wednesday.

That's the promise and power of the age of mass customization.

This will translate into the 3-D "printingsphere" in similar fashion - allowing you to tweak three dimensional designs to suit your size, colour and material preferences and more. Right this minute you can custom-order three dimensional products printed in plastics, metals, and ceramics. And we're just getting started.

It's a Generator

Making money with 3-D printing

Service companies such as Shapeways, i.materialise, and Sculpteo are leading the charge into the world of 3-D printed products for the masses. By necessity, their existence is based on a symbiotic relationship with designers and artists. The service company has the printers, marketing channels and delivery system - the designers create the "product" and get paid a fee for each copy that's sold (without the hassle of actually making, selling and shipping stuff).

Like Zazzle, the real beauty of this type of arrangement is that it allows artists to do what they do best - continue to create new designs - instead of spending their time making the same thing over and over to fill orders.

Take the time to look at the 3-D printed jewellery, gadgets, and toys available today and you'll quickly see that some of these items would be impossible to make by hand or conventional manufacturing processes. You'll also see that some of the designs provide clever and simple solutions to everyday annoyances and some of them are just downright lame.

That's the state of the game right now - so there's plenty of room for new players with fresh ideas.

Be enterprising. Go boldly. And prosper.

Hot off the printer....

3-D printed dress for Dita Von Teese

You simply have to see the picture of this 3-D printed dress - a collaboration of designer Michael Schmidt and architect Francis Bitonti. It has 3000 moving joints and it's absolutely stunning!

Go to Dita Von Teese Debuts 3D-Printed Dress on Mashable right now and check it out.

(A huge thank you to lensmaster williamtjzhuo83 for bringing this my attention.)

Engage.... in the creative economy - Learn how creative thinkers play for pay

Your comments are always welcome.

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    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Wow, I didn't realize that 3D printing was so close to being . . . common. Interesting lens! Thanks for the education!

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Thanks Susan52. Yes, it's pretty neat and things will get more interesting as it matures.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 4 years ago from Maryland

      Wow, this is really crazy! I can't wait to see what happens with this technology. I can think of so many amazing things that could be created! Cool lens...congrats on LOTD! :)

    • profile image

      OceanBreeze 4 years ago

      What an interesting lens! I am blown away by that video.

    • atsad141 profile image

      atsad141 4 years ago

      wonderful image. The first one attract me.

    • EmmaCooper LM profile image

      EmmaCooper LM 4 years ago

      Interesting lens - blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 4 years ago

      Yes, I am looking forward to 3d printing. It is already being used to manufacture houses in different ways. For instance, some firms print out plastic parts that can be snapped together, while other firms print out plastic moulds that are used for forming concrete into shapes that can be built together.

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      Oh the excitement! Can't wait.

    • profile image

      gadgetrunner 4 years ago

      I didn't know that 3D prints are reality!

    • ShadowSphereOT profile image

      Gabriel 4 years ago from U.S.

      I heard about this recently, great lens. I hear they can make food in one of the newest 3d printers. (Supposedly)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Well thats very informative, thanks allot for sharing and many congratulations for the LOTD!

    • KaiAnderson profile image

      KaiAnderson 4 years ago

      I know I will have a 3d printer in my home one day

    • profile image

      MooshkaDaisy 4 years ago

      Superb lens! I've heard about 3D printing and was looking for some pointers. Thank you for this lens!

    • best-gifts-ever profile image

      best-gifts-ever 4 years ago

      Hey - I hardly need an ordinary printer anymore, why should I personally have a 3D printer in my home? Still - this is definitely interesting technology.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Wow...it's hard to comprehend. I have heard about it though. Thanks for the info and congrats om LOTD!

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      Wow! I saw 3D printing recently for the first time and thought it was awesome.

      It's the first technology in a long while that has simply blown my mind in a "how do they do that" kind of way!

    • stennajohns profile image

      stennajohns 4 years ago

      awesome!

    • profile image

      clothing4boys 4 years ago

      3D printing is going to be the next wave. Watch out ......

    • espio007 profile image

      espio007 4 years ago

      Never even heard of 3D printing before but it is a very interesting idea with lots of uses and could very well play a significant role in years to come.

    • profile image

      MichaelDubrovnik 4 years ago

      Great lens, good to share.

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      What a well-researched lens! Congratulations. I have learned so much. Anyone want to buy my camera??

    • kingston123 lm profile image

      kingston123 lm 4 years ago

      3D printing is very popular and useful. i like your idea.

    • profile image

      getupandgrow 4 years ago

      Thank you-I found this lens so inspiring. What's astonishing is just how far this technology has come even in the last year. (We are so keen to get involved with this that we're moving house for the room and space to support a 3D printer...Like the internet, it's a gamechanger). Great lens, and many congrats on LOTD.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @getupandgrow: All the best on your 3-D printing adventure. There's a world of opportunity for people with vision and the desire to work to make happen.

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 4 years ago

      I'm just an old world person with old world interests, I suppose. All these innovations happening around us today seem like nothing but magic. Depend on hi-tech people like you for enlightenment! Thanks for sharing this bit of news.

    • Keith J Winter profile image

      Keith Winter 4 years ago from Spain

      I've been watching these for some time now and I think they have great money-making potential, but I will have to wait until the price comes down. Great lens! I've bookmarked it on squidooshowcase.com

    • profile image

      JoshK47 4 years ago

      I'm fascinated by this technology - I really need to look more deeply into it. So cool. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on LotD!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 4 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Interesting! Don't know if I'll ever own one but I love the technology! Congratulations on a super LotD! :>)

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 4 years ago from USA

      Congratulations, this lens was selected as Lens of the Day. Read more about it at Squidoo HQ. http://hq.squidoo.com/lotd/lens-of-the-day-creativ...

    • profile image

      The-Quirky-Banana 4 years ago

      Woww... I hadn't even thought of this as a possibility! A great eye opening lens! :D

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 4 years ago from PA

      I never heard of a 3d printer. Very Interesting.

    • about-pomeranian profile image

      about-pomeranian 4 years ago

      Congratulation on selecting this lens as LOTD ... Happy for you my friend ... HUGGSS

    • ManipledMutineer profile image

      ManipledMutineer 4 years ago

      This is fascinating; a whole new world I was completely unaware of...

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      3-D Printers are so exciting! Hope to see one personally soon.

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 4 years ago

      great lens; congrats on LOTD

    • profile image

      JZinoBodyArt 4 years ago

      I was chatting with my friends about 3D printing before the new year. We bounced ideas off of each other, trying to think of all of the different things that could be printed and how it would change the world. In the next decade 3D printers could be a household thing, just like paper printers.

    • profile image

      NewUsedCarsSacramento 4 years ago

      Congrats on being the LOTD. I have to say that I loved the idea of a 3D printer, it is fascinating. Thanks a lot for the share.

    • graphite75 profile image

      Tom 4 years ago

      3D printing looks pretty cool. It will be interesting to see how it progresses in the future, and if it really catches on. Congrats on LotD!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! Interesting!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Back to say congratulations on your Lens of the Day honors!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      Congratulations on a wonderful LotD!!

    • kindoak profile image

      kindoak 4 years ago

      This is a cool subject. I considered 3:d printing some x-mas presents for my relatives but I never got around to learning the 3:d design software. maybe for this year!

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 4 years ago

      I'm curious as to what it will develop into! I already love 3D painting so I guess printing will be fantastic as well!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is really cool. I wouldn't mind having one. I could do a lot with 3d printing. Thank you.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 4 years ago

      I guess it's a step beyond 3-D drawings my husband does each day at his company:-) Interesting page. Nice to see something related to technology get LOTD, congrats on that.

    • CyrusWorley profile image

      CyrusWorley 4 years ago

      awesome lens - I had heard of 3d printing and seen a spanner getting made about a year ago from plastic but it sounds like he technology is progressing quite quickly

    • DaveP2307 profile image

      DaveP2307 4 years ago

      Really amazing. Those 3D printed pieces of jewelry show that this technology is already here!

      Great Lens!

    • profile image

      khatha0808 4 years ago

      This is the first time I heard about 3d printing

    • profile image

      jvcronje 4 years ago

      Excellent lens! My son is in the IT business and he put me onto the 3-D printing concept. Since then I have been following its progress closely and would love to have such a printer myself!

    • sagebrushmama profile image

      sagebrushmama 4 years ago

      Very interesting, would love to have a basic 3-D printer for the kids and myself to use as a schooling tool, but they are definitely a little pricey! The possibilities seem truly endless!

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 4 years ago

      So someone's finally improved the printing press. I love it! Thanks for bringing this new technology a step closer.

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 4 years ago from Upstate, NY

      It excites me, too. A little nervous about two things though - people able to print guns and parts of major weapons, and what the government will about trying to tax things you print.

    • thegreenninja profile image

      thegreenninja 4 years ago

      I love to hear news about 3D printing - it's definitely going to change things!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      Aghgh! Just when I was getting the hang of my HP LaserJet! :) Congratulations on LOTD! :)

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      That is definitely the coolest thing ever. 3D printing is just mind boggling!

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I find this fascinating, not sure how durable the items will be. A lot of technical issues and pricing issues to be resolved yet! Nice Lens Congratulations on LOTD!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you for all the information. This is fascinating. Congratulations on LOTD. I really enjoyed reading this.

    • dimitry168 profile image

      dimitry168 4 years ago

      I can't believe that technilogy improves so fast! Where we will be in a hundred years? Living over the ocean? I guess. Thank you.

    • MusicMadness LM profile image

      MusicMadness LM 4 years ago

      This is a cool and upcoming tech. One of my buddies has the original http://www.makerbot.com/ printer. He's always bringing me in cool stuff he's made just to show off. I've currently got him making a case for my Raspberry Pi.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes. As Spock would say "Fascinating". Great informative lens.

    • daisychainsaw lm profile image

      daisychainsaw lm 4 years ago

      Amazing what you can learn on Squidoo! What a fascinating lens, thanks!

    • about-pomeranian profile image

      about-pomeranian 4 years ago

      Congrates on LOTD.

    • profile image

      gemstone-jewelry 4 years ago

      Very informative........congrates on LOTD.

    • toronto-wedding profile image

      toronto-wedding 4 years ago

      Superb .......congrates on LOTD.

    • profile image

      Internet-marketing1 4 years ago

      Very interesting.........congrates on LOTD.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I find this technology really exciting. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 4 years ago from USA

      Awesome! Shipping is such a drag. We'll be able to print stuff at home...so cool!

    • profile image

      metals-4u 4 years ago

      Very nice..........very appreciating

    • profile image

      kellywilson1 4 years ago

      Thank you for introducing me to 3D printing. It was eye-opening.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @EmmaCooper LM: Thanks! Totally caught by surprise with LOTD.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @ShadowSphereOT: Yup. They can print all kinds of neat things.... and it will only get better.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 4 years ago

      What an intriguing concept, really enjoyed reading your lens and being introduced to this.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      its kinda scary as it may print your exact replicate in other places ,but it is such a great advancements.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @geoffhoff: Thanks geoffhoff! I had read about printing human organs but not about the mouse heart. Thanks for sharing that YouTube Link.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @KaiAnderson: Me too!

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @best-gifts-ever: In the big scheme of things, many people won't want or even need their own 3-D printers. But I think it will become fairly common to run out to have something printed - just like getting photocopies.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @aka-rms: Thanks rms. Totally surprised by this exposure!

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @JZinoBodyArt: I think we'll all be amazed at what will be printed in the coming decade.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Thanks Susan. This really caught me off guard this morning. Madly trying to get through the deluge of positive comments - a great problem to have :-)

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @kindoak: The design part is where we'll need the really creative thinkers. I've been dabbling with some 3-D software but haven't fully wrapped by brain around it yet.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @CyrusWorley: Thanks! The fact that they can print assemblies with moving parts is incredible. And this is just the tip of the 3-D iceberg.

    • profile image

      greytdogz 4 years ago

      Congrats on a very interesting and well written lens.

    • profile image

      soaringsis 4 years ago

      Very interesting. I can't wait to see the outcome. Congratulations on your LotD.

    • michelleroe profile image

      michelleroe 4 years ago

      Thanks for the information and update on this impressive tech advance. Great lens!

    • pauly99 lm profile image

      pauly99 lm 4 years ago

      Wow. That is awesome technology.

    • stick-man lm profile image

      stick-man lm 4 years ago

      That is the coolest! But is it limited to just plastic, or can they use other materials? How do plastic, inorganic organs help people?

    • markweiland profile image

      markweiland 4 years ago

      It won't be long before the 3D printer becomes available to the public. That will be exciting times.

    • completelysidew profile image

      completelysidew 4 years ago

      I'm curious to see which company will succeed in making 3D printing cool to the public. Right now you hear a lot about 3D systems, but then again there's Makerbot too which might be better suited for at-home use, and of course the possibility that it will be a company that's not even on the map yet.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      What a wonderful creative outlet,

    • Fiorenza profile image

      Fiorenza 4 years ago from UK

      I've heard of this before but you say some fascinating things about the possibilities and I always like a Star Trek reference!

    • MrAusAdventure profile image

      Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Wow! Amazing technology, it is incredible what we humans have come up with! Congrats on LOTD!

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 4 years ago from California

      Congratulations on LOTD

      That is pretty amazing. Wow, what we could do with such a printer! Before I watched the video, I thought it would be nothing more than the equivalent of being able to create 3D books, but I was totally blown away with the look of the future.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @DaveP2307: It's really exciting to see how artists are using these printers to create designs that previously could only exist in their minds. Thanks.

    • KayRennie profile image

      Kay Rennie 4 years ago from Melbourne

      Thanks for this great info. My son's friend just bought one. Can't wait to see what they come up with.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Really interesting lens. 3-d printers are amazing. The only thing that saddens me is the amount of plastic that will be used. I saw an example of a 3-d printer making a coffee cup and it was made of plastic. I hope this kind of technology does promote use of disposable plastic items.

    • profile image

      terry-henderson-16100 4 years ago

      Awesome! Just awesome! I would love to get involved in this business.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @sagebrushmama: I think the prices of entry-level 3-D printers will come fairly rapidly - just like computers. They will be make a great teaching tool.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @kerbev: The gun parts thing is already a topic of much debate. Patent infringement is the other big issue that will take time to sort out. I hadn't thought about taxing objects - interesting point. Thanks.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @writerkath: Everything will be exponentially more complicated (and fascinating) in 3-D printing. Take a deep breath and carry on. Thanks.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @Dressage Husband: Thanks! Yes, there will be oodles of issues from copyright to ethics. One comment brought up taxation on 3-D objects - which is an interesting point.These issues will get sorted out over time.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @dimitry168: Thanks. In the next hundred years the ocean will likely be chasing us to higher ground all around the world. Beach front property is a bad long-term investment.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @MusicMadness LM: That sounds like an excellent use of a 3-D printer and a perfect opportunity for your buddy to develop his 3-D design chops. A useful addition to the Thingiverse.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Good one! Thanks.

    • profile image

      algarvepropertyforsale 4 years ago

      3D Printing is a very interesting development. Nice to have seen and read some more about it thanks to your lens.

    • profile image

      TopChristmasToysGifts 4 years ago

      Great lens and congratulations on Lens of the Day!

    • Synergise2011 LM profile image

      Synergise2011 LM 4 years ago

      The way this technology is moving forward is mind blowing. They had a moving spider robot on the UK show QI which was printed from a 3D printer that worked perfectly. Mind blowing!

    • profile image

      webmavern 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD and thanks for a very interesting lens!

    • profile image

      TopChristmasToysGifts 4 years ago

      Congratulations on Lens of the Day! Great Lens

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @kimbesa2: I agree with the shipping thing. I can see a time in the not-too-distant-future where we can order items or parts online, download the file and take it to the local print shop to get it printed.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 4 years ago

      Very cool to learn about 3D printing and the potential for it's uses, many thanks

    • Kae Yo profile image

      Kae Yo 4 years ago

      The possibilities are endless with this. I personally look forward to making myself a car. :) Congrats on LOTD!

    • Vera-S profile image

      Vera-S 4 years ago

      Amazing. Congratulations on LOTD.

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 4 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Wow! And here I thought it's still science fiction... ^_^

    • profile image

      fvraymond 4 years ago

      We cannot underestilate how much 3D printing will be the next big thing in the future. Products will be developed entirely differently than they are today. They all start becoming our own 'apps' in the physical world really.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 4 years ago

      Hahah, "Tea, Earl Gray, hot" was EXACTLY what I thought when I first found the rep-rap site. This is a cool page... I had no idea consumer-grade 3d printers had become so common and (sort of) affordable!

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @stick-man lm: They can print in ceramics and metal as well. They're experimenting printing biological materials to make human organs. You can even print food!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I understand that at the moment they are experimenting with sending a 3d printer to the moon, to use moon dust to printout all the parts they need to build a moon base.

      That way there is no need to be using up loads of energy (and expense) sending Tons of materials out of the gravitational pull of earth, just a big printer. So far it has been determined that there are enough elements in moon dust to make this possibility a reality.

    • LifeAhead profile image
      Author

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @markweiland: 3-D printing of some things is already here but it hasn't become common knowledge yet. Just wait!

    • FB-Explorer profile image

      FB-Explorer 4 years ago

      You not only introduced me to a fascinating subject; you did a great job of presenting it! I really enjoyed it. Thanks! And you really deserved LOTD.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @completelysidew: I think 3-D printing is going to make a really broad impact in the market from cheap home printers like makerbot to stores where you "shop" for products and have very high quality products customized just for you.

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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @Fiorenza: I'll always go for a Star Trek reference when it's appropriate. Resistance is futile!

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @Mary Stephenson: Thanks! It's amazing what they can do already. In the next decade I think well see some truly amazing stuff happening.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @KayRennie: It's an amazing technology that will broaden their minds. The more they play with it - the more they'll discover.

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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @DebMartin: My understanding is that people are working on that - something like a big hopper you throw the mistakes into and they get melted down to use to make something else. I think this technology should be recycling friendly by nature.

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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @terry-henderson-16100: Do your research, pick your place in the market and go for it. I think there will be lots of opportunities - such as providing local printing services in the future - like copy and print shops!

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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @TopChristmasToysGifts: Thanks. Maybe ten years from now you'll be selling some of your own toy creations as well!

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      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Neat lens, for sure. Just finished the "Maker" book by Chris Anderson, above. Want to do a lens on it... wasn't sure I could. You give me hope! THANKS! ;-)

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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @Kae Yo: Thanks. Oh, and by the way if you Google "Urbee2" you'll find a 3-D printed car in the works now! Be careful what you wish for....

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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @fvraymond: We ain't seen nothin' yet...hold onto your hat 'cause we're going on a wild ride!

    • williamtjzhuo83 profile image

      williamtjzhuo83 4 years ago

      Congratulation..though you might want to know,, just not an hour ago some one just created the first 3D-Printed Dress. which you can read it Dita Von Teese Debuts 3D-Printed Dress here>>http://mashable.com/2013/03/06/dita-von-teese-debu...

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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for the tip-off about the 3-d printers to build moon structures. It sure makes a lot of sense.

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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @FB-Explorer: Why thank you kindly FB-Explorer! I love looking into the future and Star trek obviously made a big impression on me.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very forward thinking lens. Obviously, 3D printing will be a very big factor in the very near future. Congratulations on a well-deserved LotD!

    • NekoIchi profile image

      NekoIchi 4 years ago

      Great lens! I definitely want to learn more about the subject now.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @DrBillSmithWriter: Thanks! It's fun to write about the stuff we're passionate about isn't it?

    • zabrinaw profile image

      zabrinaw 4 years ago

      I'm fascinated by this idea! I've contributed to a project about Makers on Kickstarter, and I've seen several tempting 3D printer Kickstarter projects before. I'll probably invest in one of them once the time is right -- that is, when the technology and printing material is less expensive. 3D printing is such a cool idea!

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @williamtjzhuo83: Thank you williamtjzhuo83! i just went to look at that article on the 3-D printed dress- Amazing! I'll add that as a update.

      Are you aware they can also print food? Could be a new kitchen appliance for you. ;-)

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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you rauspitz. I like to see what's coming down the road toward us. And guess what? There's a 3-D printed car coming soon... the Urbee2!

      BTW - your crowd funding lens is amazing - Well done! It's jam packed full of info and extremely well written. I'll be referring to it a lot in the future.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @zabrinaw: Technology is a moving sidewalk and like the stock market, hard to figure out the "right time" to invest. There looks to be plenty of ways to get in either as a investor, service provider or designer.

      I think Kickstarter-type funding will play a big role in the future economy. Interesting times ahead...

    • zabrinaw profile image

      zabrinaw 4 years ago

      @LifeAhead: I would love to be a designer, but I don't know if I have the inclination to pick up a whole new skill set just now. But I definitely have it in mind for a new artsy venture sometime!

    • JenaleeMortensen profile image

      JenaleeMortensen 4 years ago

      Absolutely fascinating what the future holds for us. This lens is so interesting. Thanks for writing it.

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      ComforterLover 4 years ago

      awesome stuff. kinda blows my mind with the possibilities.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @zabrinaw: Sometimes I'll let an idea percolate on the back burner for a few months or several years before I get around to acting on it. It never hurts to jot down ideas when they come to you and you can pick up on them later.

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      Zienna1 4 years ago

      Congratulations on your LOTD. This is really a cool idea. Telling me something too that I've got so much to learn and look forward too.

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      CoDataSolutions 4 years ago

      When and where can I get one?! I have been aware of 3-D printing for a while, but that video has inspired me to a point where, unfortunately, I will be having another sleepless night.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Awesome info about 3D. A few months ago my son created two platinum rings in metal work class, one for him and one for his sister. I would love one myself and think many others would to.

    • InfoCoop profile image

      InfoCoop 4 years ago

      Still trying to wrap my brain about this. Truly amazing!

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @CoDataSolutions: There are several consumer level 3-D printers on the market such as the "Replicator" from Makerbot or the "Cube" from Cubify. If you've got major bucks you can get the high end industrial models that service companies use.

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 4 years ago from Michigan

      This technology is amazing. My son-in-law is a designer for a tool & die company and he has been using 3-D imaging for over 3 years. The prospects are endless. I enjoyed reading your lens.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @ShariBerry: Thanks. The possibilities are only limited by our imagination.

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      sallemange 4 years ago

      It took me a while fro me to get my head around the idea. Now I get it its amazing. Being able to create tools from software so transport costs are less - fantastic

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very interesting and truly amazing! Thanks for sharing.

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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @sallemange: Just think about ordering stuff online....you download a file, take it to the local "print shop" to pick it up. Or if you have your own printer you could print some things yourself. It's coming!

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      MissMalaprop 4 years ago

      My boyfriend is a little obsessed with the idea of having a 3-d printer. He is a filmmaker, and also does a lot of costuming, including with the 501st Legion, so he could have many practical uses for the printer. There was also a mention of 3-d printers on a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory which I thought was interesting.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @MissMalaprop: I can understand why he's obsessed with them. They'd be great for making period props, set models and stuff. I'm a big fan of The Big Bang Theory.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Amazing ! didn't know about this :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Read about this in Wired magazine a few months ago. Thanks so much for the lens. I'd love to have a 3-D printer. Congrats on LOTD and welcome to Squidoo!

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks shannonwrites. My Star Trek theme seemed to hit the mark with a lot of people. (Great shot of you with Leonard Nimoy! on your Trekkie cook lens.) Anyway, what <<<<---he said. :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I can hardly wait to get my hands on one of these 3D printers. I have a design for some unique art pieces that came to me while I was working on a masters live trapping beaver and taking about 20 various samples from the boreal forest and lakes. Love your squidoo page too.

    • profile image

      CalobrenaOmai 4 years ago

      I had no idea these machines were so popular; yet alone needed. In fact, I read an article about a group of students that created a machine that prints 3D items that will be dispersed across their campus; apparently there are now classes that require the printing of 3D material. Awesome article by the way.

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      Allan R. Wallace 4 years ago from Wherever Human Rights Reign

      Two cool new items: 1) A 3D scanner -- scan fragile parts to make them quick and easy to replace, etc. 2) A 3d scanner for the moon, colonists will only need to ship in binding materials and it can build housing. Thanks for the info.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @BFunivcom: Thanks BFuniv.com. I saw a YouTube video where Jay Leno used a 3-D scanner to re-create a part for antique car. They printed a 3-D model to make mold and cast a new part. Amazing stuff!

    • AGreeneGirl profile image

      AGreeneGirl 4 years ago

      My husband just got a 3-D printer last fall. The kids think he is the best thing since slice bread. Right now he is in training mode so he is using it to fix all the pieces to their toys and create costume pieces. Thanks for a great article! I will be sharing it with my husband.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @AGreeneGirl: That's exactly how people will learn to use this new technology to create new and useful things. I hope he's having fun and the kids are helping so they can learn how to make new things. Thanks.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      One of the things I love about Squidoo is learning something entirely new. Boy, did I today! Thanks for this eye-opening--as in wide-eyed, mouth-dropping, gaga--page.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @ecogranny: That's what I'm (hopefully) here for! Thanks

    • vinopete profile image

      vinopete 4 years ago

      #d priting blows my mind! Thank you.

    • stoshk profile image

      stoshk 4 years ago

      Big fan of 3D printing! As someone in the space industry, we're looking into the possibility of launching a 3D printer into space. As much as 1/3 of a satellite's mass is dedicated to bracing for surviving the stresses of launch. After getting a 3D printer up there, we'd just need to launch bulk containers of loose raw materials, such as plastics and metals. much cheaper in the long run. There have also been experiments related to sending a 3D printer to the moon and mars, and using lunar regolith and mars sand for building materials.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @stoshk: Yes, I think we're going to see some amazing new ideas spring from the ability to print in 3-D. Exciting times ahead!

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Fascinating lens - well and clearly written - on a subject I've been hearing about and interested in for some time (one of my favorite episodes of the Big Bang Theory included :) I would love to get one of these some day...I can just imagine how wonderful it would be for jewelry making and other creative arts.

    • LifeAhead profile image
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      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      @sockii: Thanks sockii. I read an article recently in the Globe & Mail (Toronto) about a couple that are making jewelry in their apartment with an inexpensive MakerBot 3-D printer and selling it online. Lots of new opportunities for artists!

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      mos_go 4 years ago

      Simply amazing! I cannot wait to see what is possible when they continue to fine tune and perfect this technology. This really will change the world in many ways. Excellent lens!!

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