3D Printing Reality

I was recently interviewed on ABC national radio about 3D printing. You can read my original commentary/analysis at phys.org and The Conversation. The piece is based on conversations from the great symposium organised by the amazing Angela Daly et al. of SISR. It enquires about the social realities we’re experiencing as 3D printing is mainstreamed, and brings up two points:

Online, we deal in economies of abundance. If the logic of economies of abundance that exist in digital content filter through to 3D printing, we could be awash in waves of home made plastic junk. 3D printing will continue to lower the barriers to manufacturing, which might accelerate conspicuous consumption. If production increases more than (recycling) efficiency, we’re still at an environmental loss.

Also, 3D printing so far has required a ‘do it yourself’ knack for experimenting, which lived in free and open source knowledge sharing. Now, firms are providing seamless, vertically integrated experiences attached to familiar Web 2.0 monetisation models. I explore how the ease of creation comes at the expense of your control over those creations.