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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

3D Printers

Quality of Life, Potpourri, People Making A Difference, Healthcare, Education

3D printers were developed in the mid-1980s and have evolved to the point where they are affordable for home use starting at some $400 for the printer.  These devices have evolved rapidly, from my perspective at least, to the point they are at today.

Jay Leno uses his private 3D printer to make replacement parts for his collection of rare vintage vehicles.  That printer supposedly cost some $75,000.  A man recently made a grandfather clock that works.  Bones and joints are being created for medical use.  Auto manufacturers are developing full scale models of new vehicles using this technology.  Edible ‘meat’ has been created by another experimenter.  Will this technology evolve to the point that a machine will clone a ‘living’ thing?

I am amazed at this technology.  That isn’t too surprising though since I have not been exposed to manufacturing advances, or to scientific exploration.  I am not terribly mechanically inclined and I don’t have a very well-developed sense of art or design.  I can imagine but I cannot, for the most part, create that which I imagine.

As affordable as this technology has become, both the bright side as well as the dark side of our world will benefit from it.  Certainly smaller companies are now better able to match up with the giants.  As easily as this technology can now be used for good, it also can be used for not-so-good things.  By now there have already been advances in weaponry just as there have been advances in health care that are the result of this technology.  I am pretty sure that there exists a polymer gun that would defy identification going through screeners in airports; if there isn’t, there will be soon.

The world of art will probably benefit although rare three-dimensional art pieces could be duplicated, too.  Man is capable of immense good and of immense evil as we witness almost every week.

I remember my elderly father looking back over his life that began in 1896 and ended in 1977.  He experienced the first flight of man at Kitty Hawk and he witnessed the first man to walk on the moon on his television set.  He had become a licensed private pilot.  He made his living for a long time as a cheese maker, an ancient occupation.  He was amazed at all that had been accomplished during the course of his life.  I am beginning to have a better appreciation of what he must’ve felt as he marveled at all he had witnessed.  I am feeling more like an observer of the world in which I live with each day that passes.

If I should live as long as my father lived, what all will I have seen that doesn’t yet exist?  What all will have amazed me so that I will remember it as a very important thing among so many important things that I will have experienced?   

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