Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth hubs are amongst more than 400 around the world participating in the Global 3D Printing Day on 3 December 2015.
3D printing allows for additive manufacturing using 3D software and a printer laying down numerous fine layers of material, often plastic, to produce a real world object. Items fabricated this way have included jet aeroplane engine parts and models of people’s internal organs for doctors’ pre-surgery strategy meetings. It has been around since the 1980s but is now firmly in the consumer sphere. New Scientist has recently reported that from a base of 35,000 sales in 2012, some 250,000 consumer 3D printers were expected to be bought in 2015, and more than a million in 2017.
Unsurprisingly, gamers have seen its potential to bring on-screen items into their living rooms. Maker’s Muse, for instance, has provided You Tube instructions on how to print 3D items from the recently released Fallout 4 game. Instructions can also be found on 3dhubs.com.au for a replica Pip-Boy wrist-worn smartphone case for the game. All this surely has copyright implications, but it seems another case of technology leapfrogging the regulatory framework.
You don’t need to own a printer to access the world of 3D printing. Locally available printers listed on 3dhubs.com include 30 in Adelaide, 86 in Brisbane, 111 in Melbourne, 36 in Perth and 88 in Sydney. Free online resources include 3dPrintingIndustry.com’s guides. You can even learn for free how to print body parts in the University of Wollongong’s bioprinting MOOC offered through FutureLearn.com. In Brisbane, the Queensland State Library’s The Edge facility also provides free access to a fabrication lab to those who undertake a $25 orientation course.
Formal 3D Printing Meetup Groups have been established in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Sydney West and Wollongong. 3D printing also features in collaborative workspaces such as Albury-Wodonga Makers, CabFabLab at Caboolture, Gold Coast Techspace, Hackerspace Brisbane (HSBNE) at Eagle Farm and around Melbourne includes the Footscray Maker Club, Brunswick Maker Club, Melbourne Hackerspace (CCHS) and Melbourne Eastern Suburbs Hackers (MESH).
For local demonstrations and activities planned around Australia for 3 December, check out: