I Want a 3D Printer!

I took my kids to see a movie this weekend, and my oldest wanted to watch the credits at the end to see who performed a song from the film.  While dutifully watching the credit scroll, I saw credits for “Rapid Prototyping”.  I had heard of other movies using 3D printing, but this was the first round of credits I had seen for them.  Granted, this was the first round of credits I had watched in a while…

This simply leads me to calmly stating, holy crap!  I want a 3D printer NOW!

The MakerBot guys intrigue me.  I love their outlook and their attitude.  And I love the price.  It is, however, more money than I have in my discretionary funds at the time.

I truly believe that 3D printing is going to be a huge game changer, not just for entertainment, or the AE field, but everything.  I try to explain this to my friends.  I tell them that I want a 3D printer, and they ask “Why?  What would you make?” and I reply “Shut up, that’s what I would make!”  Currently it is limited to doodads and small items, but getting in on the ground floor and starting to understand the limitations as the technology is kicking off is intriguing to me.

This leads us to Revit.  My other approach was to try to buy one for work.  I have yet to find any good examples of Revit to STL to printed from MakerBot.  Most of the samples are simple compared to the complex geometry that Revit would spit out.  I’d like to be the pioneer, but nasty ROI and some other work acronyms pop up and halt my progress.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of in the field custom printing.  Large scale automated fabricators with higher quality materials is going to allow designers to really let their brains stretch, but there are plenty of other articles about this topic.  Right now, I’m trying to focus on the “smaller than a breadbox” end of 3D printing.

Are you using a MakerBot successfully for small scale architectural work?  I’d love to hear from you.

Oh, and the song was performed by Flight of the Conchords.  You can stop holding your breath now.