My thanks to SV3DPRINTER for posting about this amazing 3D printed innovation!
I’ve had a love affair with 3D printing since I watched a video of the first, primitive 3D printer create a toy, layer by tiny layer. Designing, prototyping and manufacturing cars using 3D printing is an order of magnitude more complicated than anything we could have imagined back then, but the technology is almost here. It’s almost a reality.
But what will happen once this technology becomes commonplace? Once it becomes as mainstream as the microwave oven? These are the kinds of questions that trigger wild flights of fancy in this thick noggin of mine.
I suspect that sometime soon, 3D printing will invade the home, becoming the must-have tool for everything. Or perhaps there will be a number of specialised 3D printers – one for food, one for clothing, and yes, one for personal transport. 🙂
In tandem with the spread of 3D printing, I can see shops becoming obsolete; retail is already dying thanks to e-commerce. The bricks and mortar shops that remain will be antiquated curiosities selling hand-made articles that people buy for their uniqueness, not necessarily because they’re ‘better’ than what they can buy at home. And yes, real shopping will occur at home. We’ll browse for ‘patterns’ and download them straight to our in-home 3D printers [which will be called something else by then]. Those printers will then print off a copy of the object for us to use.
Given how e-books and e-music already works, we won’t own these 3D patterns; we’ll merely lease them for a limited time, or a limited number of reproductions. Once the limit is reached, the pattern will disappear.
The only thing I can’t work out is how the poor will buy ‘stuff’. If they can’t afford the printers and/or the patterns, will they be forced to buy second hand items printed off by the rich?
If this future is as wasteful as the present, the second hand business could really boom. Or perhaps the darknet of 2020 will become a digital black market selling stolen 3D patterns, amongst everything else…
Not sure I want to live in this future I’m imagining, but I’d definitely love to visit. 🙂