A few years ago my company LiquidCool (f/k/a Hardcore Computer) purchased our first 3D CAD printer. We decided after spending many thousands on rapid prototype parts it made more fiscal sense to get a CAD printer, make our own parts and test them before going into mass-manufacturing. I remember the first part we made from a design in SolidWorks. It was a heat sink cover and in less than 10 minutes we had a fully functional part, in the exact specifications that was in our CAD model. I remember marveling at this incredible innovation and seeing a huge future for 3D printing for everything. You can literally take something from your imagination and see it in the physical world in minutes by printing it on a 3D printer. This just seems amazing to me.
It’s very clear 3D printing is in it’s infancy and the technology will continue to progress. It will proliferate into mass markets and soon everyone you know will have a 3D printer. Just as cell phones catapulted into ubiquity I believe 3D printers will blossom as well. Soon you will be able to print any object from metal, plastic, etc. etc. Follow me on this as it might sound like something out of a science fiction novel. Imagine for a minute breaking the case of your cell phone (something that happens frequently). Just imagine going to your computer, pulling up the case file you want, choosing the color or changing the design, hitting print and in 20 minutes your case design is ready for use. Printed right from your own personal CAD 3D printer. This is a reality that is here today!
With any exciting technology there is always a downside. As we have seen recently terrorists love the new 3D printers because they can make plastic guns that can get through airport security undetected. All the bad guys need is a good gun design, a 3D printer and a little bit of ingenuity. They have a gun fully capable of killing another human being. This obviously has the Government scared because if you can “print” a gun, without having to register the gun it’s a nightmare scenario. This can only mean buying a 3D printer in the future will be as difficult and as regulated as purchasing a gun. That day will come. So you better get your CAD printer before laws come out that limit and regulate the use of this machine. Like any good thing some won’t be able to use it responsibly and it will ruin it for the rest of us. Just a prediction, one that I hope doesn’t come true but I have a feeling we are there now.
The bottom line is CAD 3D printing is one of the most exciting things to come along in years. The technology is improving fast and what you will be able to print in the future will pretty much be anything and everything. Most importantly you can now have a way to create whatever is in your imagination and bring it into the world. That alone is truly astounding.
So lets go even further into the future. As partical physics unlocks everything from dark matter, particle arrangement and understanding the very fundamentals of how matter works we are at the doorway to even more amazing innovations in 3D printing. Imagine being able to literally recreate everything in this world simply by arranging particles in a certain way. Particles are what create mass, create matter and are what create essentially everything around you. If you have the ability to control particles, the mass of objects and the elements it’s conceivable to say in our lifetime we will be able to manifest an iPad out of thin air. As long as you have a map of what constitutes an iPad, and can control the matter that makes up the device. Can you imagine literally manifesting something from nothing. Try chewing on that idea.
As I always say the innovations and incredible technology being developed today is going to astound. We are at a tipping point where computers, software and innovation are allowing us to move into entirely uncharted waters. What we will find in this new world of science is going to change the world. To think just a year ago we discovered at CERN a particle that can go faster than the speed of light. The implications of this simple discovery could open the door to interstellar travel, new technologies, new materials and new ways of communicating. What an exciting time to be in technology. A new world and new markets await. As for 3D printing it will have a huge place in this new innovation driven world.