Origo 3D printer
The Origo 3D printer is being developed specifically for children to use.
After two glorious weeks on the beautiful Balearic island of Menorca when I barely looked at a digital device, much less turned it on, I have had some catching up to do on my return. So much information to mine. Seriously – I can remember a time when this much information didn’t materialise in a whole year, let alone a fortnight!
One piece of writing that stood out for me though was the TCT Top 5 Talk Back piece. The five people that were voted the most influential in the 3D printing and additive manufacturing sector have been interviewed by Jim Woodcock and it has identified a real divide on the: ‘Will everyone have a 3D printer?’ question! There are a couple of obvious and predictable reasons for the divide when you analyse the responses and who said what, but there is also a more subtle reflection of the industry as a whole going on, which is what interests me.
So, here’s a quick reminder of who TCT’s top 5 most influential people in 3D printing & additive manufacturing are:
- Fried Vancraen, Materialise
- Abe Reichental, 3D Systems
- Terry Wohlers, Wohler Associates
- Bre Pettis, Makerbot
- Peter Weijmarshausen, Shapeways
And they were specifically asked:
“Will there ever be a 3D Printer in every home?”
The answers were:
- ‘Yes’ [Ed: I think!!]
- ‘Right next to the toaster’
- ‘Probably not’
First off I’m going to frame this in the context of my personal opinion, which is that the question itself is wrong. I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘every home’ is hardly likely, particularly when you consider that a large percentage of global ‘homes’ don’t even have electricity or running water. Actually, one thing I believe strongly is that 3D printing — in one form or another — can and will prove to be a contributing factor in alleviating global poverty and enabling local manufacturing capabilities on more deprived continents. However, 3D printers in every home are not, and will not be, a priority for many individual families. For me, the question should probably be: ‘will 3D printers become a common household/community tool?’ My answer to this would be as categorical as Bre’s in the affirmative!
Anyway, back to the Top 5. It really should come as no surprise to anyone that the two people heading up companies selling machines — Abe and Bre — said ‘yes’. Or that the two leaders of service companies — Fried and Peter — said ‘no’ and ‘probably not’ respectively. Each of them has a corporate agenda that shapes their belief system — although for some I do think that their beliefs shape their corporate agenda. I’ll leave you to ponder on that one at your leisure. However, ultimately, they can’t all be right.
That leaves Terry – a veteran commentator, who understands the history and the developments of this industry better than most. His response was a clear no initially, and he gave his reasons, but then he also threw in an exception. Kind of. And it is this exception that I believe will ultimately result in a yes. Just not as quickly as most others that believe, hope and/or want!!
Terry believes that “children will have low-cost, safe and easy to use 3D printers for play, experimentation and entertainment.” And that this class of 3D printer “will become the most popular class of 3D printers in homes.” No time line was offered, but I do agree with Terry that this will happen, and this will probably be sooner rather than later. However, I also think that 3D printers need to be in schools first and from there migrate to the home. I’ve said it before, but as kids become more familiar and comfortable with the tech and they grow up tinkering with it, adding to it, improving it — as some of them will — it will evolve into technology that we can barely even imagine today. Technology that does offer “the range of materials, mechanical properties, colours, surface textures, etc, required by most consumer applications.”
As I said, we can’t all be right. If you have any thoughts on this, please do comment below — I really love this sort of conversation and hearing where others are coming from!