Written by Contributor on February 7, 2012
Now that we are settled on that, I’m overwhelmed with awe at the progress technology and humanity are making nowadays. We, as a species, are becoming artists. That is correct. I wasn’t referring to God in the title. My jaw was on the floor the other day at the news that we now have 3D printers and they are available to the mass public for purchase. This is huge and it’s also what has sprung this article.
3D printers are a device you plug in and in which you can upload some blueprints of the object you want to print and press start. That is right, object. You can print for example, to scale models of buildings or cars, or real size copies of anything that’s smaller and so fits. The possibilities are infinite. It builds the objects up layer by layer and it takes 12 to 24 hours to finish. The material used is a powder plastic that sets according to the blueprint, and it’s very solid and durable. It means that instead of buying an absolutely immeasurable range of things you can now make them in your own home. You can even come up with your own blueprints. You can design and fabricate absolutely anything, the only constraint being it has to have a definite shape. The medical and educational implications of this are also considerable, but those are for the specialists to talk about. I’m just giving the view of the average consumer here.
IKEA will love this – “It’s equally possible that we could one day print our own furniture.”(that will inevitably last longer than IKEA) “It won’t be long before 3D printers start appearing on your High Street, just as photocopiers did decades ago.” Says the Telegraph.
Once this happens, it will basically change manufacturing, industry, society and maybe eventually the whole world. . Close your eyes or something and picture the possibilities of you owning one, set your imagination free. If you have any trace of brains, you’ll be excited by now. However, Manny’s ambition will still be handicapped by laziness.
They have these printers here in England, available to students all over the queendom, including Ravensbourne University – www.rave.ac.uk. A bunch of crazy engineers from the University of Southampton have even printed a plane. “The ASTRA Atom aircraft will have its maiden flight on 7 December at Microsoft Research’s eighth annual Think Computer Science event, at The Imperial War Museum in Duxford.“ said www.wired.co.uk on the 7th of December 2011.
We might very well have one of these beauties here at Southampton Solent Uni, but our website doesn’t sound as cool as www.rave.ac.uk, and we aren’t printing any planes or submarines either. What matters in the end is the idea of it, not who has it and who doesn’t, so let’s not let ourselves get caught up in petty university rivalries that cause pub fights and cruel practical jokes for no good reason. We are professionals, and we must have our eyes on the big picture.
On the one hand you have technology and science and all that advancing at a mind-blowing pace, and on the other hand you have obsolete laws and greedy companies both made and ran by old and blood thirsty squares who think they’re entitled to the whole damn universe. There’s conflict of interests here and these things settle behind closed doors, with the brainiacs always losing to the fratboys. Now, why the fuck is that? Because governments and political parties and big banks and big companies are no more than fraternities on steroids and they are disgusting indeed. If you think about it objectively (what a nasty word), it actually makes sense. I’m not going to start arguing this right now, maybe in another piece.
All you average folk are now wondering why you haven’t heard of this before. So was I, when I stumbled upon it. Turns out tech geeks know about it for years but it somehow hasn’t gone through, hoho. Well, the problem is simple and self-evident. Big television and big newspapers charge very high prices for publicity and only big business can afford to pay them. These 3D printers are made by small, independent firms ran by the brainiacs I was telling you about, and they can’t compete at that level. No big corporation is really looking forward to 3D printers becoming household items, and if they say they are, they’re lying through their teeth. Details like, for instance, corporate interest and long-term perspective must be pestering them. Put yourself in their shoes. If you start producing and selling 3D printers on a big scale, you are literally nailing your own coffin.
The Telegraph also said that, “all of this raises the question of intellectual property. We could one day see piracy lawsuits directed at people who have illegally downloaded gearboxes or bookcases.” Whoopsie. Again with that. Laws that inhibit the progress of civilisation. They will put you in prison if you start using the design they “own” to make your own stuff you need. It puts them out of business. The consumer goes through the long overdue metamorphose into self-sufficiency, and it means DIY, new rules, no more monopoly. Anarchy. It is against our best interest and we should preserve the status quo and forget about these revolutionary ways for the greater good. Otherwise, we will face doom and darkness, unlike the happy and prosperous existence all human beings have on Earth now, under the current guidance. I must never forget to take my medication again.