Domestic 3D Printing Research paper launched

Yesterday we hosted an event to launch the latest research paper from our 3D Domestic Printing Research Project. The team headed by Dr Bjorn Nansen presented a brief overview of their findings to a packed out room of students, enthusiasts, and fellow researchers.

No, the cakes were not 3D printed, but there was a lot to be said about advances in the materials available for 3D printing. The talk started with a brief history of the first 3D printing concepts that date back over 100 years, then to Dr Kodama an early pioneer working in Japan in the 1980s to Charles Hull's patent in 1986. There were even references made to concepts contained in popular culture such as Star Trek, giving a comprehensive overview of how, not just the technology, but the very idea of 3D printing has grown and spread over time.

From history to the modern day, speakers Robbie Fordyce and Luke Heemsbergen then explained the process and findings of their domestic 3D printing research to a captivated audience. For all the details on this project, you can read the paper 3D Printing: Civic Practices and Regulatory Challenges.

The research project investigates how everyday people understand 3D printing and has begun to map the existing and future connections between institutional and non-institutional use of 3D printing. The findings are drawn from extensive interdisciplinary research that saw the team analyse data from learning and maker-spaces interviews with industry leaders, academics and social commentators, plus map visualisations of the evolving use of 3D printed objects made through social network analysis of public 3D printed object design repository, Thingiverse.

Kim Doyle - Twitter

What the results reveal is a decentralised sharing economy of design that raises questions around issues of accountability, ethics, policy, education and the environment. As the Q&A session at the end of the talk showed, the impacts of 3D printing cover many areas from cultural formation, to emerging technologies, to intellectual property and beyond. Meanwhile, the evidence gathered by the research team suggested opportunities for 3D printing will need to consider how to engage the following pathways to turn 3D promises into practice:

  • Educational pathways for rifts in communities and institutions
  • Accountability pathways within decentralised economies
  • Methodological pathways for researching networked objects

At MNSI we are proud to support these interdisciplinary research endeavours that clearly have far-reaching interest and impact. Thank you to all who joined us for the launch of the 3D Printing: Civic Practices and Regulatory Challenges paper. It was a fun and fascinating event full of fruitful discussion.

Findings from the research relating to the use of 3D printing in Universities were published in an academic article last year and can be found at 3D Printing in University Makerspaces.

The research team are continuing their research in this emerging area with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) project “Can I download a car?”: Emerging consumer issues for online access, communication and sharing of 3D printer files, which aims to improve consumer knowledge and protections around consumer issues regarding the sharing of 3D printable files.

More Information

Kate Murray

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