OLTD 509 Blog Post #3 – Thoughts on Roger Vernon’s Collaborate Session
What follows is a semi coherent set of paragraphs concerning Roger Vernon’s Collaborate Seminar on 3D printing.
One of the most interesting things I took away from Roger’s talk was the separation between the process of designing a 3D object, and the printing of the object itself. It seems like there is so much emphasis on the object that is created, but the process of creating that object is often more important as a learning opportunity. Working on my rudimentary birthday cake model was quite the endeavour, and I felt quite proud of it once I finished it, but I don’t think I would need it printed off in real life to feel as though that work was complete. The process of dragging and stretching those cylinders was enough for me. I can see how printing off a model may be important in order to test it out in the real world and note any modifications that need to be made, but often I’m wondering if it is worth the cost of the materials.
I had always envisioned the turning point in 3D printing’s adoption occurring when a significant portion of people have these printers in their households. After Roger’s talk, it appears that this may not be necessary. Being able to access a printer at the library, Staples, or Kinkos would certainly be enough for me, and I’m sure for many others. At this point I can’t see myself using a 3D printer that often, but I’m willing to admit that this may change as the speed and cost of them improve. With access to free design software, and services to print out our creations popping up everywhere, this technology is more readily available than I initially guessed.
I am hopeful that more programs like Roger’s will be appearing in our schools. It seems like a logical extension of wood shop and metal work, and seems like a good way to expand the scope of those courses. I wonder if in the future all three of these courses may be merged under the banner of “design” with 3D printing giving students a greater amount of freedom in how they design and work with physical materials.