Many Chicago institutions, in recent years, have embraced the technological innovation of 3D Printing, in the belief that this combination of open source design and rapid prototyping will bring forth the 3rd Industrial Revolution.
The Museum of Science and Industry has established the Wanger 'Fab Lab', a huge workshop with all kinds of cutting-edge desktop fabrication machines. The Harold Washington Library, in partnership with the Museum, recently opened an Innovation Lab, that hosts free classes and open hours for anyone who wishes to visit, learn about, and use 3D printing machines. Zach Eplan, founder of the Chicago based supply catalogue Inventables™, has predicted that in the near future, 3D printers will be as ubiquitous in household as computers are today.
But how will ordinary people, without backgrounds in, design, engineering, or programing, learn to use 3D Printing technology? Innovators and educators are devising many excellent solutions to this conundrum, but right now, the best way for people to learn about 3D Printing is to jump right in and try things!
For those who are interested in teaching themselves some basic principle of 3D Printing and modeling, and for those who wish to create cutting edge gifts for themselves, family, and friends, here is a basic primer on how to make a basic circular pendant using free design software, then export it to a printer compatible format!
–A computer with an up-to-date operating system.