There are millions of people out there who keep wondering just what the best use of 3D printing technology will be. I think it’s fair to say that it will be a universal tool for quite a lot of things in the future. Every place from your local automotive parts dealer to multinational supermarkets will use it to either produce their products on site, or to allow their customers to order what they need through the Internet and get it delivered instantly where they are. It will be the ultimate online shopping experience, and with it will surely come another string of “prophecies” which say that humanity will die out just because we no longer have a reason to walk out our front door, just like what we saw happen when online shopping got more popular.
However, without fun, nothing really develops. As an example of how fun and pure seriousness can blend together, Object, the company behind the now legendary 3D printer Connex500 took an online “toy” and scanned it. What follows is a demonstration of just how the process of online shopping might be commenced in the future. You browse the Internet in search of something to buy, you find that a Han Solo frozen in carbonite is the perfect gift to give your geeky Star Wars fan friend, and you purchase it.
All you really need to do after that is to turn on your 3D printer, print the toy, and then wrap it up into a nice little birthday present and be merry on your way. Have a look at this demo and see the end result, for it is ultimately insane how far 3D printing has really come. The printed version of the Han Solo toy is almost picture perfect. What should be mentioned here is that this replica is exactly as solid and durable as a toy as the “real” version of it is. If I may be so bold, I think we’re not more than 5-10 years away from actually being able to purchase things online and then just print them out at home, instead of waiting for a delivery company to drop them off. This could spell disaster for DHL, UPS and all of the delivery companies. The world is changing in an ever faster rate, that’s for sure!