Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Magic (No Kidding!) of 3-D printing

Reading the New York Times yesterday I discovered a magical way of taking the innovation that lives in our minds, tacit innovation, and make it real, workable...useable. The process is called 3-D Printing.

3-D printing is the process of layering materials, such as plastics or metal, one on top of each other like thin layers of cake. Through this process, those inventors who normally have to raise huge amounts of capital to see their creations come to life, can create a prototype of their inventions and test their work. Now, new companies have spouted up to use 3-D printing for everything from designer furniture and hotel fixtures to clothing. This is a great use of innovative technologies, and provides the opportunity to quickly learn how a new design will (or will not) work.

This exciting technology is allowing inventors to reach for the moon, and then build the bridge to get there. Or the space ship. Or a flying space suite. I could not wait to blog about this great technology and to think about the possibilities.

Is it possible we have taken not just a step but a leap toward removing barriers from bringing our ideas and wildest dreams to life? Companies like Freedom of Creation and Contour Crafting are using it to create models of buildings and artistically colored artifical limbs.

What an amazing way to take what we know, what we have learned from each other, stretch that knowledge to the limit and create whatever comes to mind. Innovation just got another leg up.

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