3D printing technologies are quickly becoming part of our everyday life and gaining strength in commercial use. The appearance of home 3D printers like MakerBot, The Cube, The Form 1 and others are a fascinating twist in the path which art and design have taken. This phenomena most certainly marks the start of a new era of creation by enabling every user from the broad public to create and experiment, and to share their ideas on the Web. This is believed to be the start of a new industrial revolution (Anderson, 2012), rising from the small businesses and home innovators - something, which 3D printing gives power to.
3D printing is becoming influential in many industries, like fashion and lighting design, automobile and aircraft industries, custom-made musical instruments creation, and even in weapon manufacturing - 3D Systems have already been sponsored by the US Air Force to improve the sustainability and affordability of weapons systems [http://blog.3dsystems.com/2012/10/our-paramount-advanced-manufacturing.html]. Another important application of 3DP technologies is in the health care system - printing of prosthetic limbs, and also researching towards the 3D printing of organ tissues. There has already been a successful transplant of a 3D printed bladder in a patient as early as 11 years ago [http://www.ted.com/talks/anthony_atala_growing_organs_engineering_tissue.html]. See slideshow below for examples of 3D printed objects in the areas mentioned so far.
What would the social impact be though, as a result of the mechanization of labour digitizing is bringing about? Is 3D printing also the amplifier of unemployment rates? And from an ecological point of view, what would the impact on nature be? Creating often meaningless plastic objects in a home environment can give birth of great ideas, but a lot of them will also go to the bin and add to pollution. These are crucial and urgent social issues, which will be analyzed in the following thesis report.