Yes 3D printing is slow, and yes, it’s incredibly expensive, but it’s also one of the most revolutionary inventions of our lifetimes. But is it really going to democratise the means of production and overhaul global capitalism? Or is it just overhyped Lego for the twenty-first century? Neither, says the Science Museum in this new exhibition which showcases some 600 objects that have been painstakingly printed using 3D technology.
Apparently, the idea that the invention will replace mass production anytime soon is a gross exaggeration. But it has, in a few short years, found a stupefying array of playful, useful and even lifesaving applications. Among the pieces on display here, expect to see human organs printed with living cells, fuel- saving aeroplane parts and even artworks (pictured). Sound overwhelming? It is until you consider the exhibition houses just a tiny fraction of the estimated 5.2 million objects that were 3D printed in the UK last year alone.