3D printers, newest wave of the future

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New technology is now widely available to create objects using a design on a computer in combination with a 3D printer.

To some it may sound like science fiction, but demonstrations of this technology are available on Thursday’s at Picayune’s public library.

While these printers will not be found in every home within five years, my “handyman” side can see many useful applications for such a device.

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Are you missing a clip for the door panel in your car? Print one. Do you need a special part that no one makes? Create it.

Many times, as I worked on a project, I wished I had a simple and impressive method to create a unique part to make the job easier, or make the project work the way I intended. These printers might provide a way to achieve the do-it-yourself result every handyman seeks.

Several power tools out there will allow you to shape a piece of plastic or metal to your liking, but with the printer the job is completed quickly and precisely.

With these machines custom parts can be designed and printed from the comfort of home.

In the future, I can foresee a possible business model where design plans for common parts could be downloaded from the Internet, loaded into the program and printed in a matter of minutes. No more trips to the store for a part or waiting for orders online, it will be printed at home.

The best part is these printers decrease in cost every year. Some versions can be purchased for about $500.

Even more exciting is that there are companies working on ways to recycle old plastic milk jugs and shampoo bottles into the raw material used in these printers.

Isn’t technology amazing?