3D Printing is the first form of a Star Trek Replicator

Replicator

Replicators aren't real, yet

For the past few weeks I’ve been reminding people we live in the future. When they say they don’t believe me, I remind them that the smartphone they just sent a text from has more computing power than the computers used to send people to the moon and back. That they could use that little slab of tech to call anyone, anywhere in the world and have a face to face video conversation should they so wish. I remind them that large manufactures are selling electric cars. That you can buy diesel saloons that will do 1000 miles on one tank of fuel. That we have the ability to transfer data between computers at the speed of light across the world and you know what, they still don’t believe me.

The next one they fire is; ‘Well where’s my flying car! Or my hoverboard?’
Well, I don’t know about you, but theres some people i wouldn’t trust with a ride on lawn mower, let alone a flying car! As for a hoverboard, there are the hovercraft derivatives that can be purchased here, sort of.

Well, my most recent mussing brings me to the title of this article. The fact that 3d Printing is becoming more and more affordable is bring it further in to ubiquity with modern manufacturing process, that given enough time and investment (both appear to be happening) that the theory of a Replicator can’t be far off. It came to mind when i read about this fellow who repairs his broken buggy by modelling the broken parts and ordering from Shapeways. The idea that you can order replacement parts from you’re own design is the human element of the replicator. Imagine, going to a hardware shop, sleeting from a touch screen the part you needed, paying, and returning a little while later to have the exact part made for you. The drop in manufacturing costs from having to produce a huge number of spares that may never be needed, replaced with the submission of cad files to a central database (this is a good idea, i may need to look in to it).

Anyway! You’re not going to ordering an Earl Grey from a 3D printer any time soon, nor from a full fledged particle replicator. But I don’t think it will be long before you’re popping out to the shops to buy a replacement hinge part for the door on a 1996 ford escort.

Image source: http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/ent_vs_tng.htm




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