News this week that controversial site “Pirate Bay“, well-known for downloading copyrighted music, video and eBooks, has launched a new category for digital downloads: physical objects. Surprising as it sounds, the site is beginning to offer and share the digital files needed to print in 3D.
Writing on the site’s blog, Pirate Bay explained the thinking behind the new category: “We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical.”
3D printing is still quite a niche hobby due to expense, complexity and scarcity of available resources. But the move by Pirate Bay in conjunction with companies like Makerbot Industries are reducing the costs, complexities and bringing resources to the masses.
So, Why Would Kids Be Interested?
3D printing lets children take their digital world back to the physical. Designs are downloaded, created or edited on a computer, then printed to create real life toys and objects. This is something many parents have been waiting for ever since children sat down in front of the first video game. Take a look at this ambitious ten year old who has no trouble convincing the audience why he loves his 3D printer.
How Does It Work?
3D printing has been commercially possible since 2003, but it is only now that it is becoming an affordable option to consumers. Makerbot Industries is one of the current leaders bringing 3D printing to the market with simple, affordable machines.
What Can Be Made?
In theory anything can be made with a 3D printer. There are obvious limitations with consumer level printers such as object size and material. All objects printed are made from a melted plastic substance similar to Lego, but the technology is continually improving to create stronger more durable print-outs.
How long do you think it will take before we see 3D printers in the home or school? Or will it even happen at all?