The Revolution is 3D | Arbitrage Magazine | Vol. 5, No. 3

The Revolution is 3D | Arbitrage Magazine | Vol. 5, No. 3

Download and share this free issue today

From the editor-in-chief:

I remember my family’s first printer. It only printed black-and-white and it cost $250. The year was 1997 and I was seven years old.

I remember being admonished for printing multiple copies of the rules I made for the playground — a process my father called “wasting ink.” An ink cartridge was $50 then.

(And in case you’re wondering — yes, I was the sort of kid who tried to impose rules in the playground.)
A $250 printer and $50 cartridge — added together, that’s nearly $500 in 2013 dollars.

And for that amount today, I can get a Portabee or a RoBo, both of which not only print in colour — they also happen to print in 3D.

Now that’s something marvelous. For the price of an iPhone, we can make tangible anything we visualize. We can have a machine that makes an object appear miles away by simply sending its specifications — that’s the essence of teleportation right there.

And just like how our thoughts can be made corporeal, the stuff of science fiction dreams is being made reality.
In the Netherlands, entire houses are being “printed” in 3D; in the United States, researchers have found a way to make guns with 3D printers; and in New Zealand, a collaborative has made a 3D printer that can make copies of itself. A new age is dawning.

But no change comes without opposition. There’re already concerns about intellectual property rights. If any object can be easily made, what does it hold for the future of manufacturing? And what about artists and designers, whose work can now be copied by anyone with $500 to spare?

Sounds familiar? You’ve probably heard those concerns before: The cassette will kill the radio; VHS will be the death of TV; music downloading means the recording industry’s downfall; online streaming robs movies stars of their livelihood — blah. There will always be those who fear change.

But that change will come, no matter how justified those fears seem. There may very well come a day when 3D printers will be as prevalent as my HP Officejet (bought for $20 off Kijiji).

The future is by nature unpredictable, but one thing is certain — it will happen. Such is the nature of revolution.

Ethan Lou