3D Printers: The Future Becomes the Present

Once upon a time, science fiction movies and television shows depicted scenes where the character pressed buttons on a computer or spoke words into a speaker, and the computer magically produced full-course meals, or at the very least, food cubes that a space traveler could consume. It was an interesting concept, but the general feeling at the time was that it was truly fiction because a computer could only generate two-dimensional output. Then, 3D printers came along.

3D printers have been available in the manufacturing and artistic industries for quite a while, and are now making their way into the hobby world as well. 3D printers enable manufacturers and others to create prototypes by taking digital data and converting it into a physical object, which is “printed” via a robotic arm that creates the object utilizing substances in layers. 3D printers operate based on an additive principle in manufacturing whereby layer upon layer is added to an object until it is complete. The…

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