There’s definitely something stirring in the geek zeitgeist: something three-dimensional.

Tim Maly just published an article in Technology Review called Why 3-D Printing Isn’t Like Virtual Reality:

Something interesting happens when the cost of tooling-up falls. There comes a point where your production runs are small enough that the economies of scale that justify container ships from China stop working.

Meanwhile The Atlantic interviewed Brendan for an article called Why Apple Should Start Making a 3D Printer Right Now:

3D Printing is unlikely to prove as satisfying to manual labor evangelists as an afternoon spent with a monkey wrench. But by bringing more and more people into the innovation process, 3D printers could usher in a new generation of builders and designers and tinkerers, just as Legos and erector sets turned previous generations into amateur engineers and architects.

Last month Anil Dash published his wishlist for the direction this technology could take: 3D Printing, Teleporters and Wishes:

Every 3D printer should seamlessly integrate a 3D scanner, even if it makes the device cost much more. The reason is simple: If you set the expectation that every device can both input and output 3D objects, you provide the necessary fundamentals for network effects to take off amongst creators. But no, these devices are not “3D fax machines”. What you’ve actually made, when you have an internet-connected device that can both send and receive 3D-printed objects, is a teleporter.

Anil’s frustrations and hopes echo a white paper from 2010 by Michael Weinberg called It Will Be Awesome if They Don’t Screw it Up: 3D Printing, Intellectual Property, and the Fight Over the Next Great Disruptive Technology:

The ability to reproduce physical objects in small workshops and at home is potentially just as revolutionary as the ability to summon information from any source onto a computer screen.

Michael Weinberg also appears as one of the guests on an episode ABC Radio’s Future Tense along with Tom Standage, one of my favourite non-fiction authors.

The 3-D Printer - Future Tense - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) on Huffduffer

But my favourite piece of speculation on where this technology could take us comes from Russell Davies. He gave an excellent talk as part of the BBC’s Four Thought series in which he talks not so much about The Internet Of Things, but The Geocities Of Things. I like that.

BBC - Podcasts - Four Thought: Russell M. Davies 21 Sept 2011 on Huffduffer

It’s a short talk. Take the time to listen to it, then go grab a copy of Cory Doctorow’s book Makers and have a poke around Thingiverse

Have you published a response to this? :

Previously on this day

10 years ago I wrote The iPad and the web

I, for one, welcome our non-hackable ubicomp devices.

13 years ago I wrote The Web 2.0 show

Take the test.

13 years ago I wrote The tyranny of mouseover

Those bloody previews need to die a snappy death.

17 years ago I wrote Trout Thursday

Today’s the day to eat some trout.

18 years ago I wrote Macromedia gets mean

Oh, dear. I know that it’s a dog-eat-dog world in the WYSIWYG HTML editor market, but Macromedia have just upped the ante.

18 years ago I wrote PixelNhance

There’s a very neat little piece of software for Mac OS X called PixelNhance.

18 years ago I wrote Miniputt

This is even better than the real thing: a game of mini-golf in Flash.