Puzzled

I don’t get it.

3-D printers have become increasingly more popular. They’re cool, no doubt. Libraries have begun to jump on this newest bandwagon, installing these new toys in their libraries.  A few bloggers have mentioned them; Stephen Abram has a post listing some of the printers available and their prices.

The printers are surprisingly affordable. Here’s my question: what do you actually do with one of these? I mean, you can certainly recreate a bust of Lincoln, like museums would let you do a thousand years ago when I was a kid. But once you’ve exhausted the neato factor, what can you do?

I understand industrial designers having one, in order to create a model of their design. Ditto artists. After that, I draw a blank.

So, libraries, think before you jump. Those of you with experience in these things, please feel free to comment and educate me on the practical uses for a 3-D printer. I’m all ears!

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4 Comments

Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Techie stuff

4 responses to “Puzzled

  1. Maybe give budding industrial designers and artists a chance to learn the tools? I don’t know. In terms of what to do with 3D printers, I wouldn’t know either. But it may be that the invention of the tool is only half the invention. It takes someone else to figure out what to do with it to revolutionize things. Sort of like how Henry Ford took the assembly line to a whole new level, although he did not invent it.

  2. DBF

    Since they are being used by surgeons to practice shaping kidneys to fit before transplant, the printers may have more value in your particular library, than you might have thought.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324504704578410764264855512.html?KEYWORDS=kidneys

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