IF YOU’RE READING this book, you probably find the act of creating very satisfying. 3D printing is a relatively
new, inexpensive, and readily available technology that allows makers to do things they couldn't do before.
Inexpensive 3D printers are enabling ordinary people to make their own jewelry, toys, mechanical parts, and
many other items. 3D Printing is also a technology that all ages can participate in. Students as young as 7
years old are learning how to CAD model and see their creations come to life. Venues for learning about this
technology range from maker camps, library-sponsored classes, to paid online courses and live seminars.
IMPACT OF THE MAKER MOVEMENT
The "maker movement," can be seen as an extension of the “DIY” (do-it-yourself) community and, from the
start, 3D printing was a natural interest for people that liked taking their own creativity into their own hands.
The maker movement is still an extension of the DIY mindset and has had a tremendous influence in pro-
moting 3D printing through the hundreds of thousands of people attending the various Maker Faires across
the world. Figure 2-1 shows attendees at a local Mini Maker Faire listening to our lecture on 3D printing.
No matter what experience level you have, you can be a maker, too. And, as you will discover in this chapter,
a whole ecosystem of companies, organizations, and services are available to help you use 3D printing to
foster that ability in you. Having the attitude of a maker will help you imagine and trial and error your way
into bringing 3D printing into your school, home, or business.
You can see where the next faire is located by searching for “Maker Faire featured faires” in your search
engine of choice. These faires were critical to the adoption of customer 3D printing, which then paved the
way for businesses to use 3D printed parts with consumer acceptance.
WHO IS A MAKER?
Each year many people attend Maker Faires across the globe. So, who are these members of the maker
A maker is anyone who puts things together creatively. Look around you, makers are everywhere. The
do-it-yourselfer making a wood door for his house is a maker. The hobbyist assembling a flying drone from
a kit is a maker. A programmer developing an Arduino-based electronic device is a maker. The educator
creating a unique learning tool is a maker. They are all making something new by using their hands and cre-
ativity, turning their ideas into physical forms.
In fact, you probably already are a maker in your daily life! Maybe something broke in your kitchen and you
hacked a solution together to make it work again…if so, you’re a maker! The children in schools making their
7th-grade science project…they are makers too! You don’t have to have a garage full of tools to be a maker,
you just need to think and build creatively. 3D printing can turn your ideas to form.
As you tinker and experiment with this technology, you will undoubtedly find ways to use 3D printing to
enhance your life. In fact, a study from Michigan Technological University estimated that a family can
save anywhere from $300 to almost $2,000 a year by 3D printing items such as combs, cookie cutters,
door stops, tool parts, and more. It’s easy to see how 3D printing has found a happy home in the maker
HOW THE 3D PRINTING ECOSYSTEM HELPS YOU BE A MAKER
An entire ecosystem of products and services has developed around this technology. Whether you are a
maker, investor, educator, business startup, or just testing the waters, it’s important to be aware of the com-
panies and services that make up the current 3D printing ecosystem.
The number of related goods and services offering support in the 3D printing landscape has grown tre-
mendously since we wrote the first edition of this book. Following are four charts that highlight valuable
referrals in the 3D printing industry. It’s important to note this reference list of companies and organizations
is not comprehensive, but rather an overview of what you can expect to encounter in the 3D printing world.
You’ll see you don't have to master all aspects of 3D printing yourself; you can download ready-made 3D
models, hire 3D design and CAD services, outsource the 3D printing to a service bureau, or even purchase
3D printed objects. How you want to approach it is up to you!
In the next chapter, we’ll examine some of the ways that 3D printing is being used today to provide greater
choice in consumer products, better health care, and more. 3D printing is already having an important
impact on our society.
FIGURE 21: Nick Kloski making a presentation on 3D printing at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire, Oakland, California
7 Chapter 2: 3D Printing and the Maker Movement Getting Started with 3D Printing 8
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