The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

January 24, 2013

3D printers?

Friday, January 25, 2013 — The printing press changed literature forever. Private printers at home revolutionized the way we shop, communicate and conduct business. What will 3D printers change?

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is the process of creating solid objects from digital rubrics. It involves taking tiny pieces of material (anything from alloys to thermoplastics) and adding them one on top of another until you get the desired item.

With technology progressing exponentially, these types of printers will soon be available, affordable, for  the public to use on a day to day basis.

3D printouts are useful for a number of reasons. If one wants a prototype of an experimntal design, one can print one off using a digital blueprint.

This type of low cost fabrication can help inventors create without tying up too much in the way of supplies.

I orginally heard about 3D printers from watching TV, some sort of special on space. Astronauts were taking these printers up into space with them so that they could fabricate what they need at a moment’s notice, rather than waiting for someone on Earth to fire up a rocket for a delivery.

So if you lose that monkey wrench out in space, never fear. They can make you another in a jiffy.

The fact that we have come so far in our abilities to communicate that we have machines that can make what only human hands could before is beyond amazing. This is the epitome of the transmission of knowledge.

Mass production is nothing new, but those were machines designed to make a specifc object or perform a certain task.

3D printers can make anything which has a digital blue-print.

Long gone are the days when there was no such thing as a “carbon copy.”

In this day and age, if you can create something once, it can be created again and again, as long as the object can be digitized.

To me 3D printers are akin to manifestation, the ability to create something from seemingly nothing.

How will this change society if every home has a 3D printer within it?

Will people still use stores as they do now?

It would seem pointless to go out and buy a plate, a tool or a toy when you could just print one up yourself.

Obviously people will still want handmade goods and still go out shopping traditionally, but there will be a decrease in the demand for goods if people can just manifest them at their homes.

I would have loved one of these machines when I was kid.

I loved making my own toys as a youngster, but perhaps that was just because I was always breaking them in one way or another.

Untold miles of duct tape went into the manufacturing of my homemade toys, a lot of which I had to build custom pieces.

I thought I was stretching my imagination by coming up with some of these designs, but what could I have been doing if i had a machine to fabricate some of these parts for me?

Then again, perhaps I wouldn’t have utilized my imagination at all since I would have everything I need with a 3D printer.

That’s the rub with all new technology.

It’s always useful and helps save time, but there’s always something lost in the process whether it be an artform, a creative outlet or employment.

There is a price to pay for the ease and comfort of modern civilization, usually a loss in the transmission of nuanced knowledge.

Are the ramifications for valuing machine-produced work over man-made items too great?

Only time will tell.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    NEW YORK - Economists love hamburgers. Specifically fast-food burgers. This is partly because all right-thinking human beings love ground meat on a bun, but it's also because the sandwich makes a handy yardstick for international financial comparisons. The ingredients and labor involved in preparing a Big Mac are pretty much the same no matter where you are in the world, so by looking at how many hours of toiling it takes a worker to earn enough to purchase one, you can get a sense of how wages really stack up across countries. The Economist famously created the Big Mac index in 1986 to see which currencies were overvalued. It started as a joke. Now, as the magazine proudly notes, it's a subject of academic study.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    WASHINGTON - What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Doug Creamer All in the Family

    We had a family get-together at my brother’s house on Easter Sunday. It’s hard to get our family together because we are spread out, especially when you consider nieces and nephews. My parents and siblings all made the gathering this year. Some of my nieces and nephews are far away, but they all remember gathering at my brother’s house for the holidays. Easter is known for the Jell-O eggs and the famous Easter egg hunt.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    WASHINGTON - The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 19, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content