3D world mentality

By Nadim Nyker

It’s 6:22pm, your work day is over but you stayed in a bit longer to skip the traffic. Georgina stopped coming over after she met Melanie (Mel) and Margaret (Molly) who call now call her Georgie. You also don’t have a dog. It’s cold too and according to AccuWeather there may be a tornado coming in from Magaliesberg again. It’s a whole 72.5km from your office in Braamfontein, but why risk it? You’re feeling peckish anyway, rather stay 15 minutes longer and print a burger.


Oddly enough, this scenario is not from a sci-fi chic flick. As GQ journalist, Andrew Cuthbert, puts it, “the technology has been around for quite some time…we are now living in a world in which 3D printed cars, houses and even pizzas are no longer mere science fiction.”


Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Remember in 2005 when you paid R25 an hour at that trendy internet cafe down the road? Or just last week when you ran out of ink and then noticed that the only place left to go was the one owned by the blue-contact-lens-wearing Pakistani guy in town who runs “Internet Palace”. He also charged you R10 to print one page.

That may have been just me, but you get my point.

A technological revolution is imminent. Within the next five years business models will continue to adapt rapidly. This all goes with a change in agency- technology driven by a do-it-yourself attitude because putting the powers of production in the hands of the general public is priceless.

Trends cause bursts of panic in industries that are used to monopoly. Take big media houses such as the New York Times in 2010 for example. Before the know how came about when it came to monetizing and controlling online media, they were forced to fire 100 staff writers. The authority over information had suddenly shifted to the hands of 100 million new Twitter accounts and a booming blogging industry.

Now imagine an economy where you can print out parts for your broken appliances or a replacement trouser button right at home. According to Cuthbert, a dutch scientist created a prototype of 3D printed meat grown from beef stem cells that “tasted convincingly like a real beef burger”.

Companies such as Luzbot Taz and Formlabs have have applied cutting edge technology to make sure you can cut anything from wood to aluminium. Using a process called additive manufacturing, 3D printers build up layers of material to create almost anything you want.


The Luzbot Mini. Credit: Wikimedia commons

This can be seen in the following printers:

Luzbot Taz 6

The Luzbot Taz 6 can print anything roughly upto the size of a soccerball. It is mainly used with the standard plastic printing material, however it can use all sorts of materials including metal composites and wood.

Price: R34 766.50

See the Luzbot Taz 6 print in the video below:


Formlabs Form 1+


Formlabs Form 1

The Form 1+ allows for a much more intricate print due it’s printing process which hardens a liquid resin with a laser. This allows you to print anything from jewellery to dental parts and really is revolutionising what DIY tech can do.

Price: R40 245.50

Watch the Form 1+ operate in the video below:

When it comes to 3D printing it seems anything is possible. Tech company, ApWorks, have created the Light Rider, the world’s first 3D printed motocycle and localmotors.com have created the world’s first 3D printed car. To top it all off, 3DSYSTEMS have taken 3D printing to the taste buds, printing all sorts of mouthwatering, sugary creations.







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