Thoughts on 3D printing — because why not?

Filled out an interview for today, after posting a tweet about what I’d do if I had a 3D printer. 

The thing is, I wish I could come up with some actually useful things to print / create. Life-changing, world-altering devices, the kind that helps the impoverished to access clean water, or young scientists to visualize cells and medicines. But I deal mainly in narratives and fictions, not in engineering and design. 

I’m fascinated by all of the useful and awesome things that we can do with 3D printers — entire houses and cars, casts for broken limbs, artificial arms and legs, spouts and shower heads, and now, food. Hell, organically-printed replacement body parts and organs are under development, too.

I can see the household value of being able to print a new belt buckle if one breaks, or design a pair of sandals that will actually fit me. Garden labels and wax seals. It would be even more handy to have a device for melting down materials for the printer — old Lego blocks, for example. Imagine a 3D printer that could use other recyclables, like milk jug plastics or even aluminum. I imagine those applications are still too industrial for household uses, though. 

Speaking of — my community really needs an industrial recycling company to do something with the piles of paper, metal, and plastic just sitting around at the landfill, waiting to be used. Wonder how much that startup would be?


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