So, it seems like most people, especially congress people, do not get plastic guns. One congressman’s awesome idea was to just make plastic illegal. Or make 3-D printers illegal. This boggles the mind because of so many reasons. First is that they can’t make the whole world follow their laws. And second is that the U.S would fall even farther back to the stone age .vs. the rest of the world. But most of all, there is no understanding as to what lies further down the road of this technology. This is the beginning of the Replicator from Star Trek. This is the start of a technical revelation as larger than the computer one.
Reading and talking to people, I’ve found that many just can’t picture it. So here is my try at explaining it.
Imagine printing a square on a paper with their ink jet printer.
Then imagine running that same piece of paper through the printer again. No you would have a slightly thinker black square.
Then imagine doing that 90,000 times. Instead of a square, you would have:
Ta-DaAaaa! We just did a 3-D print.
Now imagine instead of inks, we loaded up our printer with thicker goo, made with plastic or rubber or similar. Each layer would be thicker and we would have a cube much faster. Or we could buy a 3-d printer or send our plans to Staples.
Real 3-d printers were in the top 25% of Amazon Christmas presents. They are ~$1,200 bucks but so were computer a few years ago. This technology is already on the path to being widespread and cheap within the next decade. And it will be amazing. Imagine that instead of square we use a blue print of a house. We create a massive printer and we print out a house. Way, way cool. We are not quite practically there, but we are getting close.
Right now it is widely used is to make little plastic prototype pieces and then send those finished projects to be mass-produced in traditional manufacturing processes. Or perhaps something like a plastic gun. Right now, that probably takes at least a day or two to print and put together. Not really ready for mass-production, but I’m sure this is 100% totally practicable to something like a criminal organization. Today. Are you scared yet??
Then you are way too wound up and should switch to decaf coffee and go hug a puppy. Anybody has been able to do this since the 1960’s. Instead of the word “print” you just would have to use “carve” or “mold”. The reason why we don’t have a scourge of plastic guns is because they are illegal and because it is much, much, much easier just to buy one. The 3-d printer only makes the process take a little less artistic talent.
But thinking about printer houses is amazing. The prototype huge printers a just now being prototyped and it will be years before this is ready. Many of the third world countries are working hard on this because it is the lack of resources and infrastructure that holds them back and this technology fixes both those problems. It would be weird for this generation of Americans to consider East Africa as their technology superior, but with Congresses attitude about this process, it may come true. There have been no serious building revolutions since skyscrapers. A kitchen of today looks very much like a kitchen did 100 years ago. With everything else evolving beyond recognition, houses have not. 3-d printing is the next thing and is going to be the thing that changes that and therefor will change everything.
These will all be life-sized and printable some day:
Ok, maybe not the t-rex, but we can dream!