Whatever You Want

Whatever You Want, Michael Brooks,
New Scientist
Though it seems more like the sci-fi replicators in Star
Trek
than the next appliance, affordable 3D printers may be
available in the not-too-distant future. Michael Brooks from
New Scientist magazine dives into the various kinds
of 3D printers that are currently on the market. The most common
being the 3D ink-jet printer. It lays down droplets of hot plastic,
and layer by layer builds the defined object. Soon, all it will
take to create the subjects of your imagination is a mouse click
and a flick of a switch. ‘The US Army is developing ways to print
out vehicle parts from a truck-mounted 3D printer, so stranded
drivers can pick up vehicle parts made on the spot …
Archaeologists can beam the dimensions of a dinosaur bone from
their site straight to museum-bound colleagues, who can print out a
copy. And expectant parents have been given models of their unborn
baby.’ At $50,000 a pop, the only ones who currently have access to
3D printers are those in the US Army or working for big companies
such as Boeing. That may change in the next few years, according to
one of Brooks’ sources. If any one of a number of companies start
mass producing them, ordinary consumers could buy a 3D printer for
less than $1600. — Sara V. Buckwitz
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