Ultimaker: Imagine It, Make It

Photo credit to Shanna Gibbs

Photo credit to Shanna Gibbs

Whatever you did last Friday night, it’s not as cool as what I did. Hosted at the New Lab workspace in Brooklyn Navy Yard, Ultimaker officially released the second version of their 3D printer, Ultimaker2. Complete with a rooftop view, demonstrations and free booze, it doesn’t get much better.

I knew that 3D printers existed, but to be frank, until last Friday I had no real idea what their use was outside the architecture world. Thanks to Ultimaker and a random date of mine who just happened to be versed in the 3D printing field, I have been schooled. Aside from its professional uses, obviously including scaling for potential structures, 3D printers are used for a plethora of creations, from printing obsolete assembly pieces to iphone cases to intricate camera shoulder bolsters. The list, seriously, goes on and on. Essentially with 3D printing, anything is possible. Equipped with everything necessary to recreate three dimensional objects, the Ultimaker is basically a cloning machine, except you don’t actually need the original project in the “flesh.” As the Ultimaker motto advertises, if you can “Imagine it…make it.”

Photo credit to Shanna Gibbs

Photo credit to Shanna Gibbs

At the launch, co-founder, Erik de Bruijn, describes the idea behind Ultimaker and its open source operation system, and I can’t help but think it sounds just like the American dream. de Bruijn maintains that 3D printing is about moving from your imagination to making something real, which sounds to me exactly like what I’ve been doing my entire life in a much more abstract way, except de Bruijn thinks on a much more global scale.

“People who think they can’t change the world and people who think they can–both are right,” he says. As his described catalyst for the constant improvement of the Ultimaker printer is a paralyzed woman who is using her machine to create robotic arms, it isn’t hard to see why this is his driving idea. If she can use this printer to significantly improve her quality of life all based on a conceptual theory, it doesn’t seem to be a difficult jump to imagining that we can use 3D printing for a veritable infinity of creations and uses.

Point blank, I’m not doing this 3D printing business justice. Visit the Ultimaker online community, YouMagine, for information galore on how three dimensional printing is changing our world. As it is open source, YouMagine.com also provides opportunity to collaborate with other printers and designers, because everyone knows two heads are better than one, especially if one belongs to de Bruijn or his team members.

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