I attended an interesting PAX panel on 3D Printing and Gaming. 3D Printing will affect many aspects of production and careers not just engineers. The talk opened highlighting artists on Etsy who can design and sell their own board games with customized pieces. Even companies represented in the panel like Cool Mini or Not 3D print all their initial pieces to their tabletop games in house to check for design issues then send them to China for resin molding which saves them time and money. This could become the industry standard. Design software companies are jumping on board as well. Nervous System designs software to generate beautiful patterns based on natural mathematic computations to use in clothing, jewelry and more. This dress is printed entirely as one piece from a 3D printer using that software. Like the Oculus, this is another field where the sky is the limit. Stereolythographic printers like Form Labs will allow intense detail and quality with a multitude of printing materials.
A few interesting names were dropped during the presentation like MIT's Skylar Tibbits on 4D Printing and artist Cosmo Wenman who 3D prints recreations of famous sculptures from art museums. I cannot wait to see the 3D printer that will be made in the next 2 years with how quickly technology advances these days. It all begins with learning CAD software, which any library can host right now using Lynda tutorials and free programs like AutoDesk apps or Tinkercad. Patrons of the library could use a library 3D printer to create the next successful table top game or a fashion statement.