Why 3-D Printing Will Go the Way of Virtual Reality
Update: Tim Maly has published an excellent counterpoint to this post over at the Tech Review Guest blog. There is a species of magical thinking practiced by geeks whose experience is computers and electronics—realms of infinite possibility that are purposely constrained from the messiness of the physical world—that is typical of Singularitarianism, mid-90s missives about the promise of virtual reality, and now, 3-D printing. As 3-D printers come within reach of the hobbyist—$1,100 for MakerBot’s Thing-O-Matic—and The Pirate Bay declares “physibles” the next frontier of piracy, I’m seeing usually level-headed thinkers like Clive Thompson and Tim Maly declare that the end of shipping is here and we should all start boning up on Cory Doctorow’s science fiction fantasies of a world in which any object can be rapidly synthesized with a little bit of energy and raw materials. Let’s start with the mechanism. Most 3-D printers lay down thin layers of extruded plastic.
Related: Additive Manufacturing
• Understand the 3d printing paradigm shift