Many of you will have heard about 3D printers, which many believe are going to re-define the relationship between consumers and product developers entirely. Designing a 3D object on your computer and seeing it come to life under your eyes by clicking “print” would have been labelled as science-fiction only 4 years ago. Now a future scenario tells us we’ll be purchasing 3D specs of spare parts or small objects to print them at home. We won’t be waiting for packages anymore, or drive to the nearest store. The shift goes from purchasing a physical object to purchasing information on its physicality and doing the rest alone, perhaps tweaking those specs to our own specific purposes.
Lately the market has welcomed a number of consumer 3D printers at increasingly accessible prices, which means the shift is already taking place. And of course even the limits in dimensions will be soon overrun: industrial printers are being developed to produce long objects (up to 30 meters) to be used in aerospace industries, for instance.
The opportunities this technology is opening in the world of design (we won’t even begin talking about other fields of application, like 3D printed organs...) are of course huge, and the above only hints at the possibilities. Fashion, accessories and jewelry design make no exception and we have seen 3D printing spread like a virus among young designers who are using this technology more and more in their projects. A number of ITS finalists have presented brilliant examples of 3D printed collections.