tells the story of 3D printers, humble manufacturing machines that are bursting out of the factory and into homes, businesses, schools, kitchens, hospitals, even the fashion catwalk. The magic happens when you plug a 3D printer into today's mind-boggling digital technologies. Add to that the Internet, tiny, low cost electronic circuitry, radical advances in materials science and biotech and voila! The result is an explosion of technological and social innovation.
provides readers with practical and imaginative insights to the question "how will 3D printing technologies change my life?" Based on hundreds of hours of research and dozens of interviews with experts from a broad range of industries,
offers readers an informative, engaging and fast-paced introduction to 3D printing now and in the future.
Chapters and contents
Chapter 1: Everything is becoming science fiction. What would "just another regular day" look like in a future, 3D printable world?
Chapter 2: A machine that can make almost anything. Information morphed from analog form to digital. Will physical objects be next? Ten key principles explain 3D printing's disruptive power.
Chapter 3: Nimble manufacturing. Emerging business models lie somewhere between mass production and the local farmer's market. Small-batch manufacturing is becoming profitable, freeing entrepreneurs from the tyranny imposed by economies of scale.
Chapter 4: Tomorrow's economy of printable products. 3D printing, low-cost design and manufacturing technologies create new market opportunities as consumers increasingly crave on-demand, custom "experience" products.
Chapter 5: Printing in layers. For those of a technological bent, a deep dive into the inner workings of the 3D printing process.
Chapter 6: Design software, the digital canvas. Without an attached computer, a 3D printer is just an elaborate paperweight. An overview of design software and "digital capture."
Chapter 7: Bioprinting in "living ink." Design software and 3D printers read medical scans to fabricate living tissue and custom artificial joints. How long before all of us can tap into this Fountain of Youth?
Chaper 8: Digital cuisine. Today you can 3D print "high resolution" and delicious shortbread, chocolate figurines and tortillas. In the future, Quantified Selfers and couch potatoes alike will balance their diets by streaming biometrics to a food printer.
Chapter 9: A factory in the classroom. Primary and middle school teachers teach "children's engineering" using vivid, hands-on lesson plans.
Chapter 10: Unleashing a new aesthetic. 3D printers are the output device computer-savvy artists, designers and architects have been waiting for.
Chapter 11: Green, clean manufacturing. What's cleaner to make? A 3D printed plastic toy or a mass-produced plastic toy? 3D printers may introduce greener living... or help us drown in a rising tidal wave of plastic junk.
Chapter 12: Ownership, safety and legal frontiers. Technology evolves faster than the law. Consumer safety and intellectual property laws will stretch to deal with printed weapons, counterfeit products and unregulated custom-made products.
Chapter 13: Designing the future. Why was Star Trek's Replicator used only to make Earl Grey tea? Because once we shape our tools, then our tools shape us. Next-generation design software will unshackle our imaginations, giving us new ways to imagine and edit the physical world.
Chapter 14: The next episode of 3D printing. What lies ahead? Watercolor artists create infinite hues by blending primary colors. Regular people will design and blend standard materials -- or micro-scale electronic components -- and "print" them out in fine, meticulously patterned sprays. The result? Weird and wacky new materials. Robots that walk out of the 3D printer. Ready-made, responsive smart materials.