clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Old people ask all the right questions about 3D printers

"It's fantastic," a very serious woman says after someone explains what a 3D printer is. Someone elsed guessed it was a lanyard maker. Almost everyone reacted with skepticism when they were told they were going to try to use it themselves.

3D printing is a still emerging technology that, at its best, allows you to design and create your own plastic objects. At worst you get a lumpy mess and you've wasted hours of your time. It's a technology that will likely change the world, but we're taking the first steps towards affordable, fast and high-quality 3D printing.

Watching people without much context for the technology learn about it and see the possibilities is fascinating. It's easy for my kids to get excited about making their own doo-dads, but it's much harder to prove it to someone who may not instantly get the appeal of the product.

Watching these folks react to the time it takes to 3D print objects is one of the most telling aspects of the video. They get their objects, but waiting for an hour? Or 12? The amount of time it takes to create even simple objects severely limits the utility of 3D printing for most people, and it's probably one of the least understood aspects of the technology when it comes to mainstream acceptance.

This is a great video for a number of reasons, especially the turn from the joy of creating things in your home to the fear of people making weapons and the question of how that sort of thing can be controlled.

"Pretty impressive," one of the women says, holding the 3D printed Thor's hammer. "17 hours, though!"

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.