Ahead of the Curve: 3D Printing


Now that 3D printing — the process of making three-dimensional solid objects from digital designs — is available and affordable to individual consumers, it’s piqued a lot of interest across the design space. President Obama, in his 2013 State of the Union Address said 3D printing “has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.”  From scale models, gifts and clothing to prosthetic limbs, hearing aids and the prospect of 3D-printed homes, the possibilities seem endless. 3 D printing is part of the third industrial revolution, turning passive consumers into active producers.”, says Mike Moceri, founder of  The 3D Printer Experience a pop-up opening in Chicago next week.

These innovations could have a profound effect on the world, but the 3D printing industry does have at least one drawback — price. Smaller printers, designed for printing toys and other small gadgets, can be as little as $1,000, but the larger, more professional models can cost anywhere from $14,900 to $59,000. And the really advanced, heavy duty models? Those can set you back more than $600,000. Other cons include the controversies of 3D-printed guns and the threat of copyright infringement.Nonetheless, there’s currently a huge market for 3D printing — $1.7 billion to be exact. And that number is expected to reach $3.7 billion by 2015.

What is 3D Printing?

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using additive processes, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material. 3D printing is considered distinct from traditional machining techniques which are subtractive-  relying on the removal of material by drilling, cutting etc. 3D printing is usually performed by a materials printer using digital technology.

Could 3D printing eventually change the world and even make mass manufacturing obsolete? Who knows. But if  3D printing isn’t on your radar; check out what been going on and  where it is popping up . We might be designing interiors with Makerbots 5 years from now.

3 D Printing Popping Up- The 3D Printer Experience pop-up opens April 15th in Chicago where it will house a live streaming production studio dedicated to 3D printing. Visitors can also register for 3D printing workshops such as Introduction to 3D Scanning or Build Your Own Printer.

PSFK recently predicted that we’ll be 3D printing our clothes at home by 2050


Dita Von Teese walks the runway in a 3 D printed gown.

Nike Debuts First 3D-Printed Football Cleat

If vending machines can dispense beer, pizza and movies, why not 3D-printed objects? Combining the hyper-local convenience of Redbox with cutting edge technology, Dreambox is a vending machine invented by Berkley students that aims to fuel the 3D-printing revolution from the bottom up. Gotta love the younger generation.

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