There seems to be a lot of buzz around 3D printing these days. The recent cover of the Design issue of the Wired Magazine, claims that the new MakerBot Replicator2 will change the world . In the same issue there are reports of an electronics manufacturer asking customers to print some plastic parts of a popular synthesizer, OP1, by putting 3D models of some of the parts on shapeways, a site that provides a platform for creating, sharing and printing 3D models. While the industrial use of 3D printing is over two decades old, the big players in the industrial market are also making plays in the consumer market(even the young consumer market). 3D Systems, a behemoth in industrial 3D printing, claims to have a design-to-print solution that a 7 year old can use, branded Cubify. With these launches 3D printers have moved from DIY kits to fully automated print solutions. Now you can even buy these printers at fairs.
If you look at the 'buzz' around this phenomenon on Google trends, we see search traffic taking starting on a different trajectory in 2012. Students are also excited to see themselves as 'creators' and we hope to leverage their enthusiasm with this new lab at the college of business.