Remember the fax machine? The first patent for a fax machine was attributed to Alexander Bain in 1843 but it took another 150 years before it became a common means of communication. And now they have almost disappeared.
Some people however believe in a comeback, not in 2D, but as a highly fashionable 3D medium that does not require special glasses. That’s right, 3D scanning and printing may soon lead to 3D fax machines and every household will have one. Imagine a world where if you need, say, new dishes, you simply download the design you like and then print them? Or if you want to share the object your child produced in art class with its grand parents, you simply 3D-fax it?
3D printing may quickly become the new hype. Besides the price, that is currently dropping fast, it has only one other major drawback: it needs 3D models. The file sharing website The Pirate Bay (TPB) has anticipated this problem by creating a new category for physical objects where people can share 3D models. Physibles they have called it and already a number of models is available for download. The people at TPB know that it will take some time before 3D printing will really take off, yet they foresee that “you will download your sneakers within 20 years”.
At Elektor we too believe in 3D printing and we are working on one that you can build yourself. Get ready for the future, it will be in 3D.