I will say though, that even at this point I would love to have one. So the act of making them affordable to everyone is a good one. Although I doubt most would want one I know anyone into 3d modeling and CAD would love to own one. If even just to show what they can make!
I have been watching this technology for awhile now. All of the 3d printing. It seems to be just plastics and modeling. I would like to think they could adapt this to print liquid metals such as aluminum. Then you would be able to make actual useable parts. Now that would be something!
I had a bunch of PCs, Ann. At the time I owned a publishing company, and the only practical computers to own ($$ matched against function) were PCs. Interestingly, when we brought production inhouse we had to buy Macs. They were far ahead of PCs when it came to graphics. Much of the advanced graphic software wasn't even available on the PC. That started a long-standing division in publishing companies that still exists to some extent -- editorial uses PC and art uses Apple.
You are certainly right about that, Ann. I can't believe how much code I had to learn just to keep the computer going. All I was using was word processing and a database. But if you didn't learn the code to repair thye crashes, you couldn't keep your PC going.
That's the way I remember the sequence, too, Rob. Except that MS-DOS was really awful for anyone but an engineer to use. I had several hours of training and could not remember much when it got down to making anything work. The cryptic error messages and text format made it really hard to have any idea of where you were or what had just happened, or what to do next. The Mac's GUI is what made me want to use computers--intuitively obvious, just like they said.
I agree about MS-DOS, Ann. I'll never forget when IBM announced the PC. It seemed like the announcement was nearly a year before they (and their clones) started to deliver the PC. All of the models except for Apple disappeared almost instantly. The way I remember it, businesses knew they had to start investing in personal computers, but they were nervous about what to buy. Once IBM announced the PC, they put off all their purchase plans until the first PCs arrived. Killed the market for everybody else. Except for Apple.
Chuck, I remember the Tandy, and a lot of other models of PC that have gone into history. I think at the height there were about 25 different brands, all proprietary, from 25 different manufacturers, that all worked differently. It was a nightmare. Given that environment it's easy to see the appeal of MS-DOS.
Your raise a good point, Naperlou. Not all engineers can think creatively from both a problem solving standpoint and a creative design standpoint. That said, This particular technology is really more to whet the appetite of the consumer/hobbyist/do-it-yourself market for 3D printing, inclusive of some enterprising engineers, I would think.
The content creation piece is one of the holes, however. Even as these 3D printers get cheaper and easily to use and maintain, the software to build the 3D models of what's printed is still more sophisticated than the average Joe. That's where technology like Robot Nation comes in. It doesn't require knowledge of CAD or any other sophisticated 3D design tool.
Beth, the issue of content creation is one that comes up a lot. I was looking at a gaming software solution for a project that was not really a game. The game development environment is great, but a lot of the work is creating the objects that go into the game. Engineering is a creative process by its nature, but it is a problem solving creativity. There is a different type of creativity that goes into making the shapes that you would want to print. This could be a useful acquisition.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
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