For all of you chocolate lovers everywhere read how Hershey has partnered with 3D-Systems: Hershey's to make 3-D chocolate printer (CNNMoney, January 16, 2014).
OK, this may first be used by bakeries, but with mass production a 3-D printer could end up in our kitchen. It is beginning to sound like a Star Trek food replicator to me.
I agree--in fact, I suspect we'll find 3D printers in a lot of places. Basic 3D printers now cost less than $1,000, and the variety of materials that can be printed using online services is astounding: plastics, brass, bronze, ceramics, steel, sterling silver, alumide, sandstone, resin, and even gold. These materials will likely eventually be usable in consumer 3D printers as well. Inventors are working on others, such as polymers for printing clothes.
You make a good point that industry will see this technology first, but I hope that classrooms will see these technologies sooner rather than later. We're working with a number of schools who are using basic 3D printers currently, whether it be to print models for chemistry class, students' own inventions, or a Smithsonian objects available at 3d.si.edu.
Does your school have a 3D printer? If so, how are you using it? If not, how would you want to use it?
Last night on the news, they talked about using a very large 3D printer to build a house. Affordable housing coming up!
It is absolutely fascinating what can be done. I too, Matthew, would like to know how schools who have invested in a 3D printer are using it or planning to use it.
Another question I have is, I know printers get very cheap but the ink cartridges can be expensive. What is the cost of operating a 3D printer in a school setting?
Those fortunate enough to have a 3D printer, tell us more.
I must admit that 3-D printers are new to me. I recently saw a biography on TV about Jeff Dunham, the ventriloquist. He used a 3-D printer to create his most recent puppet. It took about 42 hours to print the entire head of the puppet after having scanned it by the computer. Amazing!