While not new, 3d printers at the desktop level is a game changer.
They used to be very expensive and a unique piece of design hardware
that took up lots of space. The first patent was 1984 I believe. And
wax cnc has been around for a while. It is just easier for anyone to
get access to the equipment.
Now, you have a fresh plastic bobble that you printed out at the
library, what next? Well, I’d suggest one of three options…
If it is in PLA, I think it can still be burned out. One of the
plastics can be, I think it is the PLA plastic. It leaves a bit ash,
so blowing out the mold is a must. A design considerations when
Or, use the object like a master to make a rubber mold to make a
working wax if you insist on having a wax. That is then good for
smoothing out those lines and defects caused by the steroliphography
Or, send it out to a third party company to print it in wax or some
will print directly into a sintered metal!
This is really not new in the commercial jewelry world, they have
been using cad software for years to design, build and make
The real revolution is now the kids can design their own, put that
design online and then somebody can purchase the piece to be printed
in almost any material or metal type. So high school kids can
generate an income from their homework in that cad class they have to
take at school. Maybe a designer can source multiple income streams
from variations on a theme.
Maybe a stay-at-home dad can make his rent by selling his cast
bobbles at the local weekend art fair.
Think of the early computers at radio shack. That is where we are on
the timeline of the future with 3d printers.
Now, software, that’s the real revolution. The software used to be
so expensive that a cheap machine wasn’t needed because it was
useless without software. Better software, easier to work and design
with. Now some is free, making even better access for the masses to
But, they won’t replace a hand fabricated piece. Yet…