The Age of 3D / Let’s Play!

3D printing just gets better, cheaper and funner. Whether it spreads as fast as tablet tech remains to be seen (JP Morgan predicts over 46 million iPads to ship in 2012 and close to 100 million tablet devices over all). But clearly, this is the Next Big Everybody-Wants-One Thing.

I certainly want one. Or access to one. Enter NY-based start-up Shapeways, a kind of Kinko’s-meets-Etsy mash-up of 3D services and sales. Whether you submit a design to be printed—in plastic, metal or ceramic—or adapt an existing design (create your own sake set!) or buy something ready-made through the online store, this site is a rabbit hole of endless mind-blowing possibilities.

It is not only the objects themselves that fascinate, but also the fact that many of them really couldn’t have been manufactured any other way.

Consider Gyro the Cube:

You don’t have to be terribly techie to play, either. For those who need a bit of guidance, you might be able to find a class through Skillshare, a service that connects people who teach just about anything with those who want to learn (although this class is in New York, Skillshare operates in dozens of cities).

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For those preferring to own the means of production, MakerBot Industries just unveiled its latest gizmo at the Consumer Electronics ShowThe Replicator The Replicator. With a hat tip to one of Star Trek’s most magical imagine-ventions (now trademarked), the new printer offers three notable improvements over v.1:

  • comes assembled
  • can print in 2 colors
  • can print bigger things

The Cube, also launched at CES, offers a Thingiverse / Shapeways / RepRap-style “community” for sharing 3D designs.

Let’s play!

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And You Can Print That, Too…  / J. A. Ginsburg / TrackerNews: Dot to Dot

— J. A. Ginsburg / @TrackerNews