This week I attended a meeting with Construction Manager magazine at the offices of http://www.iMakr.com.
They market various 3D printers and technologies.
While we were waiting to be shown round, we discussed all sorts of possibilities like printing buildings on the Moon or spare parts for space stations, printing buildings onsite .
The reality check came as our host told us of the current limitations on speed of production, types of materials and so on. Perhaps this is promising, but the technology is not quite there yet.
It occurred to me later that we have become a little blase about technology adoption. We have seen it so many times now, it’s rather like a kind of technological hindsight. We’ve seen it all before in the development of the personal or home computer, mobile phones, the internet, email, social media, tablets, and all the little hard and soft tech items that now are indispensable to our daily lives.
In this case we can look forward to all sorts of ways of applying 3D printing to construction, FM and so on. We can also look back at other tech, having already experienced the adoption curve, seen the costs go down, capability go up and accessibility to the public increase exponentially.
3D printing should be no different, assuming that the people who need to invest , research and develop see the value in continuing to do that. I hope they do, because I believe this could be as big a game changer for our industry and the retail sector as the personal computer.
If they don’t (which I hope is unlikely) then I wont be able to print my lifesize copy of the Starship Enterprise which will be disappointing!