I’ve talked to many people since the idea for b.TWEEN 3D was conceived and am constantly amazing how many of them are totally unaware of 3D printers, and especially re how far they have evolved in the last few years.


3D Printing and paradigm shifts in production and manufacturing b.TWEEN 3D
I’ve talked to many people since the idea for b.TWEEN 3D...

Basically pretty well any physical form can be scanned, generate a CAD file and be recreated elsewhere using a 3D printer- and those printers are becoming more powerful and more affordable.

Software deconstructs 3D image into 2D slices and the printer deposits layers of the material, most often plastic or metal on top of each other until the form is recreated. The form and shape of the thing can be as complicated and intricate as you like and are only really limited by the size of the printer itself

We are heading to the episode of the disruptive revolution, where not only content, but physical things can be beamed across the pipes to be recreated elsewhere. And we all know what happens when things can be digitised and replicated at the click of a button. Are we heading to a time when mail order will seem as ridiculously old fashioned as fax machines seem to us now. Why order when you can print?

If you haven’t seen it yet, go and have a peek – a site that invite creatives to upload digital designs that can be made into physical objects.

I’m pondering, what will all this mean legally? How is the legal structure going to adjust to changes which most of them, quite frankly, aren’t even aware of. These things sneak up on you and before you know it…

The things that have thus far been distributed and shared online have been things like songs and film, content that that has clear copyright holders. As far as i know, and please correct me if i’m wrong, but most objects don’t have have rights holders as such. They’ve never needed them before

But then … by raising this question on our amplified platform, do we run the risk of having the legals imposing legislation designed to quell the fear of those who might see 3D printing as the next big threat rather than the next creative revolution. That would be bad

And then there are the sustainability aspects.. 3D printing could have a number of positive environmental benefits… printing on order rather than mass production would reduce waste ( think of what could happen if you could just reprint a faulty part and refit it) .. and then there is the obvious logistical benefits

Remember, I’m just pondering which of these topics should be reflected on the programme – so please let me know you thoughts .. but for now, I think 3D printing could lead to a paradigm shift in production and manufacturing cycles and is a rich seam of discussion to mine. Thanks Alice. Now i just need to think what an ideal discussion panel would look like and which question needs answering

Thoughts gratefully accepted!