August 01, 2008

A new company is offering 3-D printing services for affordable prices. At $50-$150 a shot, you too can have your very own, well, whatever the heck you want. Artist friend Damion will probably just sign over his paycheck once he finds out about it.

Posted by scott at August 01, 2008 11:36 AM

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For some reason, this strikes me as a huge consumer boom in the custom home market. Right now there are plenty of programs that can give you a computer screen view that you can do all sorts of things to, but this would let folks take that "final design" (complete with furniture and landscaping) and print out their plot with the house - and make the different roofs and floors removeable (by printing them as separate objects).

Hell - if you're about to drop $200-300K on a custom home (Ohio prices, not those damned silly VA prices), an extra couple hundred dollars for piece of mind is a pretty safe sale.

Posted by: ronaprhys on August 1, 2008 11:44 AM

The scary thing is, what happens when these 3-D printers become as common as monitors, speakers, and paper printers? Any physical object, from Michaelangelo's "David" to the chair I'm sitting in, will be reducible to a digital stream, to inevitably arrive on the internet and be duplicated at the whim of the entire world. It will have the same effects on archaeology and sculpture that the internet has had on print and visual media, both good and bad.

It's definitely progress, as anyone the least bit concerned with the welfare of their fellow human beings can see the good of this outweighs the bad, but how will builders and sculptors react to the sudden opening of their market to anyone with a 3-D printer?

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on August 2, 2008 11:16 AM

The things the professional paranoiacs at CIA & keep themselves up at night about this stuff regard "u-build-it" bomb blueprints that don't just show you how, they'll provide parts. That work!

Far as I'm concerned, as long as the machinery remains VERY VERY expensive, it'll be easy enough to keep an eye on.

For me, this sort of service gets me just THIS much closer to replacing a SPICA thermostatic actuator* with something digital and reliable. And by the time I get it debugged, I'll be able to sell the replacement to the six or seven people who need one!
* It's just about exactly the same thing that made old refridgerators turn the cold on and off. It's really expensive, and it wears out WAY too soon. I want something that's screw-based and controlled by a computer, and if nothing else this service will give me the bits I need to mount the electronics in.

And yes, I could've linked up exactly what I'm talking about, but the @$#@%@#%@ spam filter these idiots use PREVENTED it!!!!

Posted by: scott on August 2, 2008 03:51 PM

"Far as I'm concerned, as long as the machinery remains VERY VERY expensive, it'll be easy enough to keep an eye on."

The same used to apply to CD burners and color printers, too. Ssying we won't have to worry about these things because they are expensive and can only work on special plastic resins is like saying there would never be a market for computer porn because nobody would want to look at that kind of stuff on a 4-color 160 x 240 CGA display.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on August 3, 2008 03:47 AM

Well, I don't worry too much about the bomb thing, at least not until the printers can start assembling actual chemicals. Bombs are too easy to make without getting all psycho-technical. Hell - black iron pipes serve as great bomb containers.

As for the problem with art - we've got that with digital music and regular art now. Some sort of DRM file-system will work well here. Additionally, these sculptures are made out of all sorts of cool materials that this tech doesn't seem to be able to use. 20-30 years from now? It might be different. But honestly, technology is nothing more than a tool. People will always find ways to misuse it - and some corollary of rule 34 will apply here. People'll somehow make porn out of this - I know I would.

Posted by: ronaprhys on August 3, 2008 07:34 AM

Last comment. The SPICA thing is only a problem if you have a car that has that design flaw...


Posted by: ronaprhys on August 3, 2008 02:07 PM
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