We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: 3d printing is going to catch on, big time. In the near future, we think that 3d printers are going to start popping up in classrooms as a learning aid for engineering students learning CAD.
Evidence of this is that The Pirate Bay, a famous piracy site, recently added a new category for files being shared called “physibles,” files which can be 3d-printed (things like keyboard keys, dice, paper clips or just about anything you can think of). We definitely don’t think piracy is good (it’s illegal!) but we definitely think it means something when the world’s biggest piracy website thinks physibles are a big enough deal to have their own category.
Here’s the skinny on what we think: a lot of schools don’t have the money to make big investments, but they’re still expected to invest in your education. Engineers wind up making a lot of money, but sometimes learning engineering can cost a lot (especially if you want to learn something like 3d printing with CAD). So if you want to wind up being an engineer, you’ve got to be really resourceful in your education, to make up for how expensive it can be.
Sometimes that includes things like convincing your teacher to apply for a grant, so you can start a robotics or programming team.
For 3d printing, that means finding a good, not-too-small-but-not-too-big 3d printing company, and writing them a really good letter to ask for a small donation. That small donation would be a 3d printer of theirs. Talk to your science teacher and get them in on it. Have them write the company as well. Have them come up with ideas to make the idea sound more appealing to the company (Who would give away a 3d printer without a little something in return? How about good press?)
This is what we think you need to do. Imagine being able to print your own custom LEGO parts. Imagine being able to customize or mod just about anything. It’s the future of independent engineering, which means it may well be your future.
- Mashable article about 3d printing.
- PopSci artcile about these kids.
- 2009 Economist article about 3d printing.
- A good place to start your research on 3d printing companies, so you can contact one and ask them to donate a 3d printer to your school.
- Article about an 83-year-old woman who gets a 3d-printed jaw replacement.
- Bonus: A cool article about how scientists used 3d printing to make robot dinosaurs.