It’s been the same for decades – order something, wait for it to arrive, or drive to a shop.
But the old delivery model is rapidly disappearing, says 3D printing expert Chris Elsworthy, as the next generation of designers and creators turn to these ‘magical’ machines to make products for themselves.
“3D printing is popular because the process of making something from nothing is magical,” says Chris.
“As a society we’re starting to move towards making things ourselves rather than just buying them or downloading them. A3D printer gives you the ability to create something without great technical expertise.”
Cel’s Robox 3D printer – which can also be used to ice cakes and cut out cards or stickers – works the same way as most. Hook it up to a computer and feed it a design – either a downloaded template, or one you’ve made yourself using computer design software – and it’s in your hands, moments later.
The machines are fed a spool of plastic which runs through it and is heated before being printed into virtually any three-dimensional shape, bit by bit.
Or you could use Scanify, a handheld 3D scanner that can turn anything – a pet, someone’s face, or pieces of furniture – into an object when coupled with a 3D printer.
“Minecraft is popular at the moment, which is basically a very simple Computer- Aided Design (CAD) package. They can draw something in CAD and print it out. If you can play Minecraft you can do this,” Chris adds.
Robosavvy stocks its own line of 3D printers which the company’s Antonio Fernandes says are inspiring a new generation of designers.
He said: “Most design and engineering professionals find it very easy to use consumer 3D printing because of how cheap it is compared to traditional production avenues. You can have a new prototype on your desk every single day of the week for a negligible cost. It’s a no-brainer.”
“Anyone with a computer can actually get their own designs in their hand for the first time ever. That’s an opportunity a lot of people can’t resist.”