The Future's Bright. The Future is Printed in 3D.

Printing with a 3D printer at Makers Party Bangalore 2013 12

At the weekend I was having breakfast at a friends house. On the table was a plastic nut and bolt. He showed it to me with some pride. I knew there must be something special about this nut and bolt to warrant a Sunday morning breakfast mention.

He took me to another room and showed me his printer. A 3D printer. Printing plastic. Printing nuts and bolts.

This particular nut and bolt took 45 minutes to print on a £900 printer.

So what? 3D printing isn't news these days, is it?

Back at the breakfast table we started imagining the future. In 10 years time, would every house have one? Others at the table wondered why we would need one.

  • A plumber comes to your house to fix your washing machine. He needs a part, but he doesn't have it with him. Instead of going to a store or making an order that needs to be delivered, he goes to the 3D printer in his van and prints what he needs.

  • You are putting together desserts for a dinner party to celebrate a 30th birthday. You print off "Happy Birthday Lorcan" in chocolate to pop on top of the desserts.

  • Your kids are doing a school homework project to build a robot. You download the shell design and print off parts.

Just three examples out of millions.

I think how we didn't know what we'd use smart phones for when they were launched. And how every day people come up with uses for the technology. It will be the same with 3D priniting. It will transform manufacturing and logistics in ways we can't yet imagine.

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