3D printing is making it drastically easier to produce infinite identical copies of anything, for better or worse, for humanitarian or for destructive purposes. A replica of Michelangelo’s David can be made at home just as easily as an assault rifle. While the relatively new technology of 3D printing is proving popular with designers, fabricators and the general public, it hasn’t yet reached the ubiquity of the home printer. But it will. A recent trip to the Makerbot store, a 3D printing boutique in Manhattan, has absolutely convinced that “desktop” 3D printing is poised to change the world. I saw nine-year-old kids using basic CAD software to make their own toys. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision a near-future where toys are downloaded like books or songs or movies. Print-on-demand custom lego bricks or minifigs are the kinds of things I would have dreamt about as a child if I could have even imagined the possibility. It’s only a matter of time until desktop fabrication is as common as desktop publishing.
(3D Printing From the Renaissance to Today - Life Without Buildings)