by Marcia Goodrich
Most people view the 3D printer as an interesting novelty. Joshua Pearce sees it as the prelude to revolution.
It’s not because making your own plastic soup ladle is an incendiary act, or even because some people might print arsenals of Uzis and take to the barricades (that hasn’t happened yet). It’s because 3D printers put the means of production into the hands of the masses.
If this sounds like the rhetoric of class struggle, it isn’t—not yet, anyway. Open-source 3D printing is a logical extension of the Internet Revolution, which liberated data that had once been tucked away in libraries, recipe boxes, and classified government files. Conceivably, 3D printing will move the Information Age a step ahead, by giving everyone access to free design files and inexpensive equipment to make most anything.
Pearce had his eureka 3D printing moment a couple years ago, when he needed a lab jack. He was shocked to see a quote for one that cost a thousand dollars. “All it does is move things up and down,” he says with unveiled . . .