For the past year I’ve been fascinated with 3D printing. The ability to create a solid object on demand in minutes is probably the closest we are going to come for some time to Star Trek’s transporters, but its potential is only just starting to be realised.
While 3D printing has enormous potential in the manufacturing sector, it is also poised to wreak chaos on the design community. Pirate design files can already be found online, enabling you to print your own designer jewellery, figurines, and other copyrighted items. Indeed, despite the best intention of 3D printing companies, as prices of printers come down and quality rises, the design industry could find itself victim of similar acts of piracy as those that hit the music industry over a decade ago.
But we are a long way from that scenario today, and right now 3D printing presents a wealth of opportunities, which I explore in this article for various Fairfax publications.