For my reflection on ‘MAKER: a documentary in the Maker Movement’ I’ve chosen to talk about 3D printing. 3D printing has been on the rise in popularity since its creation in 1984 by Charles “Chuck” Hull, becoming especially popular since the start of the 21st century.
(Picture of creator Chuck Hull and one of his 3D printers from this site)
I think that 3D printing is very interesting. You can print a 3D version of a drawing, a smaller version of a sculpture, even something functional like a drinking glass! 3D printing has a lot of impact on todays society and can be used to make a variety of creative and useful things. ‘3D printing has been used to create car parts, smartphone cases, fashion accessories, medical equipment and artificial organs.’ this one article says, showing how 3D printing can be used in a variety of ways.
3D printers can also print things using different common materials like plastics, silver, titanium, steel, wax, and other uncommon materials like chocolate or cells in the case of 3D printed organs. This allows for a lot of the more functional things to be built in their own material and not just a plastic substitute for something really important like in the case of aforementioned 3D organs. You could make personalized candy for friends or have parts available for your car or other parts for laptops.
However, you definitely don’t need to use 3D printing for something functional if you don’t want to! The documentary stated ‘3D printing has a place in a workshop, or a place in an office for a facilities manager, or a place at home, or a place in different kinds of industries,’ it is a very versatile invention and has many uses in today’s society.
The only limits when it comes to 3D printing are your own creativity, and gaining the materials needed to make what you want to create. Another limitation is the price of obtaining a 3D printer for yourself, as they tend to cost around $1,000 (assuming USD.) However, there is 3D printing services out there that you can pay to print off your needed items. Another thing when buying a 3D printer is that you also have to pay for the printing materials, which is usually around 20$ (assuming USD) for a single colour.
‘So when you use traditional manufacturing, there is certain designs that are difficult to do. But with 3D printing pretty much anything you design is doable.’ this line from the documentary also shows the innovation of the 3D printer, how it has made life easier for people in creating things. If you wanted to design a part that isn’t on the market you could design a template for a 3D printer and then print it out!
Creator Chuck Hull said that he hadn’t expected his invention to become popular right away when he created it back in 1984. Now the world is really excited about his invention and all the time he took to perfect it. He thought that it would help speed up the process in engineering or automotive companies trying to get parts to build things like cars or different inventions but it slowly grew to so much more.
Written September 15, 2016