E03 — 3D Printing: Imagining and Making

People think 3D printing is going to change the world. They imagine ways that it might transform our society, economy, and culture. In this episode I look at why 3D printing is so compelling– why everyone is so interested in it right now. I talk about where 3D printing came from and how it’s changing, examine the structure of how people popularly imagine 3D printing, and look at the Utopian hopes that people attach to the technology.

Notes, Images, and References:

Here’s a quick summary of the early history of 3D printing: Amanda Davis “Layer-by-Layer: The Evolution of 3-D Printing” The Institute: IEEE News Source, 14 November 2014.

Chris Anderson has a nice history of 3D printing and some interesting thinking about potential changes in manufacturing and entrepreneurship. Anderson is also the source for the analogy with the development of computers. Chris Anderson, Makers : The New Industrial Revolution. London: Random House Business Books, 2012.

Make Magazine’s 2015 “Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing” featured some interesting reflections on the changes in the design and presentation of printers.

Here are some examples of big predictions for 3D printing: Paul MacInnes. “The 3D Revolution in Your Own Front Room.” The Guardian. “How 3-D Printing Could Disrupt the Economy of the Future.” Bloomberg.com. “Will 3-D Printing Change the World?” The New York Times. John Naughton. “Is 3D Printing the Key to Utopia?” The Guardian.

Here’s a link to Hideo Kodama’s original description of 3D printing: Hideo Kodama. “Automatic Method for Fabricating a Three‐dimensional Plastic Model with Photo‐hardening Polymer.” Review of Scientific Instruments 52, no. 11 (November 1, 1981): 1770–73.

Music is from Nick Jaina: These Fair Hands, Mississippi Turn Around, and True Hearts.

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