Here’s a 2013 prediction near and dear to my heart, though I must admit that I read statements almost identical to this around the same time last year. But seeing these popping up in more and more in publications not firmly rooted in the maker movement and desktop 3D printing is encouraging and speaks to what is definitely happening as opposed to what might happen: awareness about desktop 3D printing and it potential ramifications continues to widen — to the larger tech culture world, to education, and to the part of mainstream interested in machines and technology.
Take a look at the other predictions as well — some interesting questions to consider while you are thinking forward to 2013.
3D printing will go mainstream, printing at home?
It’s Star Trek technology or primitive replicators coming to our century. Printing was, for years, limited to the business environment. Eventually it arrived in homes to consumer users. But, the next step in printing comes in three-dimensions — 3D printing — giving users the ability to ‘print’ (with lasers and computer-aided cutting machines) items for machines, computers, and even body parts.
It will only be a matter of time before home users will be able to download schematics and blueprints from the Web and create their own products from their home office as the technology becomes more simplified.
It’s a distance away yet, but 2013 will see a dramatic rise in the 3D printing sector, along with the associated ethical issues with it. Should you be able to print a firearm at home? Should 3D printers be used with stem cells to build body parts? And should the schematics or blueprints be offered through ‘pirate’ sites? Where there will be 3D printing, there will likely be strict regulation.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!