A couple of questions for you:
Who was the last uninitiated person you told about 3D printing?
What was the best reaction you’ve ever had?
If I could be so bold as to push, I really would love it if you could take a minute and share because it is the sharing of this sort of information that allows us to communicate, smile and learn — all vital to quality of life IMO. If it's about 3D printing so much the better.
Here’s a couple of my own experiences:
In answer to my first question, the most recent was on a plane. The guy next to me was going through a rather messy divorce, and didn’t hold back on the details. I offered sympathy in all the right places, but at the earliest opportunity I changed the subject. When we progressed to what I did, it shouldn’t really surprise you to learn that I didn’t hold back either. It took my usual props — keyring and necklace — to fully convince him I wasn’t making it up (he was an IT Systems engineer).
Another introduction that stands out for me was on a train back from London, and is probably the most long-lasting reaction. After a fraught conversation about politics (directly opposing views) with a senior couple at my table, the fourth commuter at said table kindly helped me extricate myself from this conversation by asking me what I did. Cue the 3D printing elevator pitch. He got it straight away, as he had seen something in the media previously and asked me lots of questions about applications and where it would go! After exchanging business cards, he still emails me now whenever he comes across 3D printing! Oh, and he is a London-based lawyer, with family in my neck of the woods, just in case you were wondering!
I do just want to mention a couple of others, quickly I promise.
I have been regaling my father-in-law with all of the latest developments in 3D printing since the earliest days of RP. He’s always smiled and nodded at me but my suspicions that he never really quite got it were confirmed a couple of weeks ago, when I showed him yet another part — the Objet classic car! And I saw the lights go on. When I then showed him the material samples (all in one piece), he actually got quite animated! Breakthrough.
Similarly, my daughter, who at 14, is actually now quite well versed in the capabilities and benefits of 3D printing. She’s put up with it since before she could talk. Now taking product design as one of her GCSE options, I think the rhetoric is actually becoming real for her. Result. A 3D printed pen is the pinnacle of her (stolen from me) collection of parts to date, and for her next birthday, a 3D printed necklace is on the list!
My 7 year old son, meanwhile, is STILL playing around on Makielab. I have offered to buy him one, but the boy is a nightmare – keeps changing his design and won’t sign off on ANYTHING!!