November 8, 2012 AT 6:00 am

3D Printers Are Not Like 2D Printers: A Rant #3dthursday

BaseballBatPrinter

Jon Evans of Techcrunch shares a rant about the fundamental differences between the 3D vs 2D printer “revolutions”:

People. Listen. 3D printing is not just 2D printing with another dimension added on. Yes, the names are very similar, but their uses are not even remotely analogous. We may reasonably conclude, therefore, that 1) 3D printing will not recapitulate the history of 2D printing, 2) as soon as you make an argument along those lines you lose all credibility and look like an idiot.

Why? Because paper, I think you’ll agree, is used almost exclusively as a medium of information. Exceptions like Nicole Aptekar’s stunning paper art only serve to prove this rule. This is true even of photo printers: if it can be digitized, it’s information. Whereas 3D printers generate stuff. And our relationship to stuff is thoroughly, extremely, fundamentally different from our relationship to information.

Read More.


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Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has thrilled us at Adafruit with its passion and dedication to making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed that our community integrating electronics projects into 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you take considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless EL Wire and LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects!

The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you have a cool project you’ve made that joins the traditions of 3D printing and electronics, be sure to send it in to be featured here!

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2 Comments

  1. I am confused. Are people actually comparing 3D printing with 2D printing? Seems like an odd thing to rant about but I do agree with his assessment of Nathan Myhrvold. Today I used a stick to scratch my back and by noon I received a letter from Myhrvold’s lawyers saying I owed the company a royalty.

  2. It depends — there are two confusions. One is the word “printer” throws a lot of people (who think you need 3D glasses to see 3D prints) and the other is the business history of “HP” which is frequently evoked when people are talking about the 3D “garage” revolution. There are actually some interesting things to look at regarding the history of HP, but it is very unlikely that 3D printing will more than superficially match that story: different tools, different people, different stakes!

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