- Spider 3D printed guitar by Olaf Diegel
Imagine that you own a desktop box that could print physical objects. At the push of a few buttons, you download a file, modify it, and then hit the “print” key.
The possibilities would be endless for localized production, print-on-demand distribution, and the customization of almost everything. 3D printing offers the potential for an industrial revolution within the current generation.
In traditional manufacturing, parts are drilled, cut, bent, and then fastened together. In additive manufacturing, objects are printed to specification, without a single droplet of waste. Entry level printers now exist in the $1,200 range. Just ten years ago, it was impossible to find any for less than $100,000.
Today, companies as diverse as Nike, 3M, Ford, GE, GM, Mattel, and Oakley all use some sort of 3D printing system for prototyping demonstration products. In Europe, manufacturers including BMW, Nokia, Rolls Royce, and Airbus are doing the same.