Saturday, 26 December 2015

shop-class or genie back in the bottle

Though sometimes touted with great optimism as the desk-side Industrial Revolution, democratizing manufacture and taking the power away from big business (and one ought not to curb one’s aspirations on this account), invoking how inkjet printers did not put the publishing magnates into arrears Wired! magazine presents more of a tamed but nonetheless important speculation on the possibilities of 3D printing with modelling to help artists and artisans perfect their final product.
Sort of like confronting a first draft with red ink and the necessary detachment from one’s own words, 3D modelling and experi- mentation allows one to explore folds, contours and stresses nearly as on the native media and approach the potters’ wheel, as it were, with a bit more confidence. But what do you think? There’s probably much to be gained by the return of cottage-industry or the ability to assert some independence from the factories and sweat-shops or even one’s warranty and service-agreement by being able to produce one’s own quasi-unauthorised replacement parts. Perhaps the desktop revolution did not occur with printing and self-publishing (at least, not to order) in part because the presses were so cheap but the ink so dear. Designing our own printers, however, perhaps we won’t let that short-coming materialise, unless we are placated with instant delivery on demand and the tumult of obsolescence.