The average Joe has pretty simple printing needs (a work contract, an airline ticket, a funny blog post to stick on the fridge door, and the like) which can easily be met with a sheaf of white paper and some basic HP ink. But some people have much more complex needs: namely, the designers and engineers that simply can”t work with an average 2-D print-out, but instead need a fully dimensional recreation of their vision. That”s where the futuristic 3-D printer comes in: a gadget that interprets designs and plans, and churns out an actual, three-dimensional model of them in full color, no less!
Well, that full-color part is actually still in the works, thanks to a forthcoming innovation by Hewlett Packard. Yes, this giant supplier of personal and business printers and printing accoutrements is getting into the highly specialized three dimensional printing biz, and though the forthcoming play real pokies online units promise to be pretty expensive, and thus out of reach of the average consumer (retailing at a couple grand a piece), they still undercut current prices for similar machines, which currently retail for an average of $15,000 a pop, making HP”s prices seem downright democratic.
The techie press reports that, although these models aren”t yet available on the market (and probably won”t be for some time), some prototypes are already being sent to hand-picked users in Europe for testing. If you have Star Trek-like fantasies of owning your own 3D printer that could spit out anything your little heart desires (maybe you need a new chair for that guest room, or a charming doll for your daughter”s birthday), don”t hold your breath. These special printers are really reserved for design professionals, and similar gadgets won”t be available to the average consumer for quite some time.
Even if they were available to the average consumer, the 3D objects that they make are still paper-based, and rather flimsy at that. It isn”t witchcraft, after all; it”ll be a while before you can just whip a delicious pizza out of thin air, no matter how expensive your printer was. Doesn”t hurt to keep dreaming, though!