3D printing – rapidly getting easier

We first started to get interested in 3D printing a year or so back, and at that I played with a number of the services on the market, but the experience wasn’t easy, and 3D printers in the home still seemed some way off.

Both those things are now changing fast.

The usability challenge was that the modelling tools were difficult to use and the integration with 3D printing services was difficult.  In just 20 minutes earlier today I modelled the design below on 3dtin and then exported it to i.materialise where I was able to send it off to be 3D printed.  Hopefully it will arrive in a couple of days.

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3dtin was incredibly easy to use, so much so that I could see my seven year old daughter modelling stuff as part of her schoolwork or to play with at home.  The ‘so easy a child could use it’ also struck the folks at Origo, who are planning to make a 3D printer for children (prototype picture below).  I want one of those.

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3D officionados amongst you will have noted that Makerbot recently raised $10m to grow their home assembly 3D printer kit business, so we have affordable 3D printers in the home already, although their product is best for early adopters who are good with a screwdriver.

I believe that 3D printing will be more revolutionary than 2D printing.  The possibilities are almost limitless, and it now feels like the timing for the market is almost on us.  A friend of mine (David Brown, founder of buy.at) recently bought a Makerbot and he emailed me saying he was coding for it in the dark with his headphones on, and that it felt like 1993 all over again.

(For those that are wondering Man, is my wife’s maiden name and the F is short for Fiona.  I went for Man rather than Brisbourne because it is shorter.  Considerably so…)

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