3D print­ing al­ready chang­ing de­sign world, with more to come

Print ev­ery­thing from a cus­tom­ized skull vase to a model of a sofa at the push of a but­ton

Richmond Hill Post - - Homes - GLEN PELOSO

No one would dis­agree that tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing the world, and the 3D printer is cer­tainly chang­ing the de­sign world. I found one re­cently at a trade show in New York that printed a chess piece the size of my palm in 30 min­utes. If you wanted a new chess set, these print­ers bring “shop­ping online” to a whole new level, and for $2,700, this, in my opin­ion, is a game changer.

Imag­ine you have a faucet that starts to leak. A new fit­ting or washer will fix it, but you need to get out to the hard­ware store and buy it. There are hun­dreds from which to choose, so with fin­gers crossed you hope­fully buy the right thing. It could be the right piece but for a dif­fer­ent brand.

If only you could use your cell­phone to scan a bar code some­where on the faucet and be told ex­actly what to get or taken to a web­site where you could down­load ex­actly what you need and print it.

More and more you will find that re­place­ment parts will be printable, and that will change our re­la­tion­ship to hard­ware stores and shop­ping in gen­eral.

Down­load a re­place­ment part, send it to the 3D printer, and in 15 min­utes you’ll have that leak re­paired.

Per­haps you need a new colan­der for the kitchen? No prob­lem, as long as you have the nec­es­sary ma­te­ri­als and don’t mind wait­ing for it to print.

How­ever the tech­nol­ogy is im­prov­ing all the time, and you can rea­son­ably ex­pect that print­ing will get faster and faster. Re­mem­ber the dot ma­trix printer? The laser printer gets your three-colour pro­posal printed in a frac­tion of the time. The same prin­ci­ple will ap­ply to 3D print­ers.

Soon you will be able to cus­tom­ize prod­uct to suit your needs. Per­haps you only ever buy a half dozen eggs, so that egg holder for a dozen doesn’t work for you. Or you could print a vase to hold the flow­ers you just re­ceived, and you could do it in de­tails that you cre­ated. You might pre­fer one cov­ered in skulls as op­posed to daisies.

The most in­tri­cate de­tails can be added to the in­te­rior of a light bulb, by print­ing, paint­ing and us­ing LED tech­nol­ogy. You could print your sec­tional sofa in 3D to be sure that you’re sat­is­fied with all of your mod­i­fi­ca­tions be­fore you pay to have the sofa cus­tom man­u­fac­tured.

The de­sign com­mu­nity will be able to print any­thing to see how it works be­fore we build it. Thin­gi­verse, the online de­sign com­mu­nity for Mak­erBot, a Brook­lyn-based maker of 3D print­ers, has let early adopters down­load more than 700,000 files, free of charge, and print prod­ucts such as chess pieces or hon­ey­comb-pat­terned vases.

And 3D print­ing has been pop­u­lar with in­dus­trial de­sign firms for years. Get­ting it right be­fore they go into mass pro­duc­tion is a huge money saver.

Once in pro­duc­tion, the econ­omy of scale al­lows prod­uct to be sold to the mass mar­ket at a rea­son­able price.

I re­call a con­ver­sa­tion with a friend who works in the auto in­dus­try. Ap­par­ently it takes sev­eral mil­lion dol­lars to com­plete the first car in a 2016 model with only slight al­ter­ations from the 2015 model. The con­cept of econ­omy of scale changes with this new tech­nol­ogy.

You can cus­tom­ize that vase or light or waste­bas­ket to fit your space per­fectly with­out al­ter­ing the price. You may be in love with a light fix­ture that’s a lit­tle too big for your space. A cus­tom or­der would sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the costs, but print­ing it smaller re­quires an al­ter­ation to the nu­mer­i­cal val­ues in the Au­toCAD file only; hit print and voila.

Soon, the only thing be­tween you and your home’s de­sign will be your imag­i­na­tion and a 3D printer!

A chan­de­lier in­side a light bulb is cre­ated us­ing 3D print­ing and LED light­ing

Glen Peloso is a de­sign ex­pert on The Mar­i­lyn De­nis Show and Res­tau­rant Makeover. For fur­ther info: www.glen­pelosoin­t­e­ri­ors.com.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.