Printing a Better World
Not to be outdone, art and entertainment have made fair use of additive manufacturing in the form of the “3Doodler”. It's a pen that can draw in the air, provided it has a stable base to start from.
Katie Addison, a student at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, is the proud owner of one of these groundbreaking pens. "It’s kind of neat,” says Addison. “You really need to build up layers to provide the structure it needs. Lots of supports to give it the structure it needs."
Unique in their design, these pens could become the catalyst for a new art form. They have the potential to take the programming and computers out of the equation for architecture and statues, says Addison.
Though the pen still has its flaws (created structures really need the support to stand on their own), it’s a great hobby tool for anyone who loves to draw or design.
“[I make] small little things, usually videogame related…as it is, it can be a little bit hard to control the lines. It doesn’t look perfect like it would of you were using an actual 3D printer. It has good applications in fine arts… like 3D installation and sculptural art work,” says Addison.
The 3Doodler isn’t for anyone who isn’t committed to their doodling, as it costs around $200, though the plastic that is used only costs about $10 for a pack of 20 sticks, and it looks and acts much like a tricked-out glue gun.
The Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. made an entire village of full-sized 3D printed buildings. In January 2015, the company created the biggest building printed to date, standing five stories, along with a mansion that is 1,100 metres. This follows the company’s impressive feat of printing ten houses in 24 hours last year.
Detractors might breathe a cautious sigh of relief for the time being, though. There is still quite some distance until many jobs become obsolete. Even then, new jobs will be created to build and program the machines. Jobs may not be lost – just changed, much like our future thanks to this kind of innovation.
Who knows where we'll end up in the next 30 years. The era of hoverboards, matter transmitters and chrome-plated everythings may be light years ahead, but for now, researchers are doing their best to “make it so.”