How will 3D printing impact our lives

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A collection of essays from the finalists of the 2013 Centre for Innovations' 3D printing competition


  • 1HOW WILL 3D PRINTING IMPACT OUR LIVES?Views from tomorrows innovators

    A collection of essays from the finalists of the 2013 Centre for Innovations 3D Printing Competition

  • 3D Printing Competition Campus The Hague Leiden University

    Social Science anticipating on societal impact of 3D Printing

  • 4

  • 5Content


    Essay Finalists3D printing the end of Intellectual property by Freyja Vandenboom

    3D Printing: Ready Or Not, Here It Comes by Wendy Gnther

    How will 3d printing impact our lives? by Chris Noteboom

    OZYMANDIAS by Constanteyn Roelofs

    The Future of 3D Printing: From the Center to the Periphery by Jens Iverson

    Print Mode: On by Lisanne Nederlof

    The Personal Pill by Marialisa van de Poll, Ihwanti van Hulst & Beyza Gney

    3D-printing in 10 years, 3 reasons that will influence its impact by Mark van Leeuwen

    The Democratization of Creation by Nicholas Castellon

    My thoughts on the social implications of 3d printing by Steven Jol

    What the world needs by Warsha Koeldiep

    Message from the winnerClosing remarks

















  • 7Foreword

    This document contains a summary of 12 future implications of 3D printing, written by social science students, faculty member of the Leiden University and practitioners. The 3D Printing Competition unravelled and contains the submit-ted and unaltered papers of the finalists of the competition.

    After the successful 3D Printing Summer School of 2013, held at the Campus The Hague Leiden University, a 3D Printing competition has been organized. Students, faculty and professionals from around the country are challenged to submit a paper that explored the major social implications of 3D printing. This undertaking has been done to encourage people within the social sciences to explore developments stemming from the technical sectors of society as both fields influence one another. The winning prize is a 3D printer sponsored by Ultimaker. The competition took place at the Campus The Hague Leiden University and is supported by the Centre for Innovation The Hague, the 3D Print-IT lab, and Ultimaker Ltd. At the Centre for Innovation we believe that multi- and interdis-ciplinary inquiry is of great importance to gather deeper insights into how our social structures are influenced by technological innovations and vice versa. The papers are published under Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA). We aim to stimulate others to experiment with similar experiments to encourage further inter- and multidisciplinary exploration of various technologies that promise a disruptive and exciting potential on how society develops.

    The Centre for Innovation The Hague Team

  • 8contestants

    LISANNE NEDERLOFI am a Dutch first year student of International Studies (Univer-sity of Leiden, Campus the Hague) and have just finished my first semester. I am now preparing myself to specialize on East Asia and also Mandarin lessons.

    CHRIS NOTEbOOMCurrently a Junior Structural Engineer at Octatube. During my masters Architecture and Structural Design I learned how to combine creative thinking with technical knowledge. Together with new digital tools and nature as a source of inspiration this enables me to make innovative designs for pioneering projects.

    WENDY GNTHERRepresentative for ICT in Business, Leiden University

    FREYjA VANDENbOOMI am interested in media theory, the development of 3D print-ing, games science politics and art, and the legal and social aspects thereof. I am currently busy with artistic research and developing conceptual audiovisual works and video projections.

    CONSTANTEYN ROELOFSConstanteyn Roelofs, history student of Leiden University specializ-ing in the late colonial era (1900-1941) of the Dutch East Indies.

    jENS IVERSONI am a Researcher for the Jus Post Bellum Project and an at-torney specializing in public international law. A member of the California Bar, the Thurston Society, and the Order of the Coif, and I have received my Juris Doctor cum laude from the Univer-sity of California, Hastings, and my Bachelor of Arts from Yale University.

  • 9MARIALISA VAN DE POLLI am a 17 year old high school student at the Utrecht Stedelijk Gymnasium. For our school we have to write a paper about an in-novating subject that interests us. As 3-D printing is a very prom-ising technology that can change the world as the introduction of the personal computer did many years ago, my friend Ihwanti van Hulst and I, decided to do research on this new technology.

    MARk VAN LEEUWENAfter fifteen years in professional software development and ICT and Business Consultancy, I switched to the non-profit sector. There I moved from general ICT Management to Information Management at Leiden University.

    NICOLAS CASTELLON I am a Dutch/Brazilian and am currently doing a Masters degree at Leiden University in Crisis and Security Management with specialization in Cyber Security. I am also interning as a research assistant at the Centre for Terrorism and Counter Terrorism in the Hague where I am doing research on cyber governance and cyber espionage.

    STEVEN jOLI am 26 years old, born and raised in Scheveningen, The Hague. After finishing my VWO I studied Information Science at Utrecht University. Currently I am doing the follow-up Master program Business Informatics. This year I will opt for a career in the area of IT and business.

    WARSHA kOELDIEPI am a second years masters student, studying ICT in Business on the Leiden University and my nationality is Dutch.

  • 10

  • 11


    We are honoured to present a total of 12 finalists presenting a diversity of dif-ferent designs and ideas. Participants have been encouraged to think big and contemplate what future possibilities might be possible with additive manu-facturing technologies. From 3D printed prosthetic hands and jewellery, to three-dimensional representations or metaphors on how this technology might influence literature and poetry were all explored and you can read more about each of these ideas in the following pages that include the unaltered and origi-nal papers the 12 finalists submitted before embarking on the journey of further discovery.

    Erik de Bruijn, co-founder of Ultimaker announced the winner and the runner up of the competition. The winner of the competition was Maria-Lisa Van der Pol, a high school student from Utrecht who, together with her friend Ihwanti van Hulst, explored the idea of 3D printing the Personalized Pill. Their idea of the personalized pill revolved around a tablet that can be printed locally, this concept saves costs for packaging, distribution and can be customized accord-ing to the individual patients needs.

    In second place came Nicolas Castello with his idea of 3D printing emergency relief shelters using local materials. This idea was one of many that his paper covered and used a special type of Polylactic Acid (PLA) that was infused with particles of sandstone to 3D print a small tent like object which, when scaled up, could shelter a small family. The idea he presented was to literally print shelters using the abundant resource of sand, minimizing the requirements of transporting materials to areas requiring emergency relief. If you are interested in taking part in similar activities or would like to get initi-ate a project of your own involving 3D printing, please let us know! You can contact us via and you can join us on Facebook

  • 12

    Freyja Vandenboom

    the end of Intellectual Property, the future will tell.

    Referencesi author,

    legal and artistic research by f. vandenboom


    i ii -will- -be- -awesome- -if- -they- -dont- -screw- -it- -up


    v -future--with- -3- -d- -printers- -7- -disrupted- -industries/

    vi vii

    world/3- -d- -printed- -cast- -future- -article- -1.1398383 -12910683

    viii -party- -battles- -lego- -over- -copyright- -and- -trademark- -injunction- -130118/

    ix -drm--chair- -self- -destructs- -after- -8- -sittings

    x i -cops- -trumpet- -seized.html

    xi -bar/


    3D printing the end of Intellectual property

    Is it a fantasy to think that in the future we can scan our thoughts and imagination and make them real? Maybe not.

    Slowly 3D printers are finding their way into peoples house holds (ii). It takes some Yoda, iPhone cases and 3D models of yourself to begin to under-stand the powerful disruptive force of 3D printing technology (iii). In 2030 you might wake up to find 3D printed designs ready for you based on your personal data moni-tored while you were sleeping. This data could have been send to your 3D printer making an Iris van Herpen design dress ready to wear. 3D print-ing may very well be the missing link needed for development of The Internet of things (iv).Companies working with prototypes, designers can now easily make limited edition pieces for a fraction of the time and money it costs now. With 3D printing you do not have to order a minimum amount so you dont need large storage space, you also dont have a serious amount of waste material and some predict less traffic due to the fact you only need a file to print anywhere in the world (v). But just as easy it is to manufacture design it will be just as easy to copy it as well. All you need is a smartphone to go into any store or gallery and scan or take a picture. Back at home you can as easy as 123 turn it into a file that can be sent to 3D printers worldwide to be printed in any material that is available and will be available in the future. vi It is that easy so although we cannot predict the future we should think about how we want it to look (vii).

    Disney and George Lucas are not go-ing to let people make models of their iconic designs for free (viii). LEGO may have become an example of a company that has accepted user gen-erated content but they were forced to after unsuccessful attempt to have their LEGOs IP protected something people seem to have forgotten. ix Just like the entertainment industry design and toy companies will try and stop mass infringement through DRM (x), lobbying for strict legislation and sheer scare tactics and aggressive legal battles (xi). They may want to restrict the use of smart phones in shops, museums and movie theaters so people cannot copy designs but the moments a design has left the store it becomes difficult to control over who makes a file and puts it online (xii).

    With the development of better technology and software it will not take long before every household from here to Mars will have a 3D printer (xiii). We have seen that with the adoption tablets and not to forget mobile phones and before that televi-sion and computers. When the price is right people will buy and if not, we have persuasive advertising to make sure they do. Instead of going against the flood and battling infringements, companies should focus more on making great products for a reason-able price. Why not have a 3D printer in stores and museums to print on demand? Why not change from ready made models to designing applica-tions with blank models that people can customize? We already see this happening and this trend will become more prominent in the future (xiv).

    Facebook claimed the end of privacy, maybe 3D printing technology will be

  • Facebook claimed the end of privacy, maybe

    3D printing technology will be the end of

    Intellectual Property, the future will tell.

  • The 3D printer will become a common

    product that we can use to print any idea we could possibly think of.

  • 15

    will not notice the difference. It is needless to say that if everyone would do this, this would have a ma-jor impact on society, on the economy. Regardless of its implications and whether we are ready for it or not, there is no stopping this technique from becoming a standard product in every household. I think the benefits of 3D printing will outweigh its challenges, especially the benefits for education and health-care. The 3D printer opens up endless possibilities, but care should be taken with regard to the regulations and policies that should guide its introduction.

    Referencesi C. Druce-McFadden, Tiny kid-

    neys are worlds first 3d printed living organs, September 2013,, Accessed 03-11-2013.

    ii, Accessed 03-11-2013

    3D Printing: Ready Or Not, Here It Comes

    Everyone may have heard about 3D printers by now. Having made a 3D model, it is now possible to actually print it using different kinds of mate-rial. This has major implications for manufacturing, considerably speeding up processes at low cost and improv-ing quality. The technique could prove to be especially beneficial for develop-ing countries, giving them a chance to produce high-quality products at low costs. It could also prove to be very useful for education and for the health-care sector. For example, from a 3D model, it will be easy to print models of body parts and to make customized prostheses, or even organs (i).

    Considering the research being done and the already existing printers, it will not take long before every house-hold has a 3D printer. Already, 3D printers exist that can deal with mul-tiple materials at the same time (ii). This makes the collection of products that can be printed almost limitless. People will be able to print their own toys, car parts, computer parts, furni-ture, and much more. The 3D printer will become a common product that we can use to print any idea we could possibly think of.

    Besides the benefits of being able to print anything you want, this may also have a dark side. Like any machine, 3D printers could be used for the wrong reasons. What if people would start printing their own weapons? The blueprints and models needed to do so will be-come available, be it illegally or not. Stopping the distribution of

    such files is as impossible as stopping people from downloading films and music. Of course, weapons could be made without 3D printers as well, but the technique does make it a lot easier.

    Also, as the distribution of blueprints and models cannot be stopped, how do we protect intellectual property? People will be able to print anything they want. Then it is not just about simple products such as plates and cups, but about products that would normally cost a lot of money to make, such as certain car parts. Moreover, if the materials to do so are actually cheaper than the items themselves, this could be disadvantageous for manufacturing companies and shops.

    Maybe some of the biggest implica-tions would arise when people start printing money. As more and more materials can be used for 3D printers, it will be possible to print coins that resemble real coins to such an extent that cashiers

    Wendy Gnther

  • 16

    Chris Noteboom

    he lives in is integrated in the digital. 3D printers will impact our lives by changing our very perception of the world we live in and what is possible. We interact with the world by adapt-ing ourselves and by changing our environment. Personalized material will intensify this relation.

    Lets print our world!

    Referencesi negroponte, n 1996, being digital,

    hodder & stoughton, london.ii

    about/solution/i ii






    How will 3d printing impact our lives?

    We use printing, to materialize information. From the digital world in which bits travel with the speed of light, to our concrete material world, built from atoms. The founder of the media lab of MIT, Nicolas Negro-ponte, states in his monumental book about the digital age, that information is getting more and more personalized (i). Now with the upcoming 3d print revolution, also material objects will be more personal. In our connected world we constantly interact with other persons. Through sharing, we investigate a multiplicity of opinions and we can cooperate to develop new things. New ideas will spread faster than ever before, as ideas from one part of the world can be printed the same day at the other side of the world.

    Products will not be designed as single static objects, but will be designed to cope with users individual preferenc-es just as smartphones are designed to be personalized by apps. You can choose your own colors and various other parameters and print it at home or at a shared printer. You can print new parts for previously printed ob-jects and reuse material that is melted or pulverized. With new developments in the branch of printing electronics and circuits the rise of the Internet of Things will accelerate.

    The profound transition of using a 2d printer to a 3d printer is that 2d printed paper or textile is almost solely used for communication. Letters, papers and posters are printed instead of mugs, chairs and clothes. In 3d printing, the whole material structure

    is reorganized instead of an addition of various types of ink. Therefore, in addition to altering the immaterial representative message, we also alter the material at a much bigger scale in a way that we can actually use the object.

    That 3d printing is transforming disci-plines is shown by the fact that it is already used in multiple applications. Meat is being printed, NASA uses 3d printed parts in their rockets, the first 3d printed gun is tested, a canal house in Amsterdam is being printed, drones are printed and printed human body parts are used in hospitals.

    As it will be easier to create complex material configurations, the relation between an individual and matter will change. If something costs less effort, we humans will do it more often. If matter is easier to change, it will lose some of its slow and difficult to change character.

    The use of the digital, in which infor-mation exchange is made possible by easy adaptable devices and services, will merge with the new use of the material. The fundamental physical relation between a user and the world

  • 3D printers will impact our lives by changing

    our very perception of the world we live in and

    what is possible.

  • I tremendously enjoyed sitting around

    the wonderful machines with people from all

    kinds of academic and social backgrounds,

    discussing many exciting ideas for the

    future of home printing technology.

  • 19

    Constanteyn Roelofs

    now, the writers of the new age will make their mark, describing the revo-lution in personal production, weav-ing everyday items of the material sphere in their descriptions of life in the 2020s, perhaps to be half forgot-ten or fondly rembered by historians in the 2300s. What to think of a murder mystery were the killer prints his weapon? Or a classic Bildungsro-man of a young 3D-printer in the big city, shaping his wares during the day and his identity during the night? The endless bubbling of the Samovar will perhaps be replaced by the clicking and wizzing of the 3D-printer in the soundscape of the great Russian nov-els of the future.

    In the end, the only restrictions to what we can bring to print, either in literature or in 3D, are the limits of our imagination.


    A mighty monument in our collective poetic conscience is the sonnet Ozy-mandias, by the great romantic Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). It re-counts the tale of a traveller stumbling on the ruins of a great statue in the sands of a far way desert. Look upon ye mighty and Despair, the inscrip-tion at the base reads. It is a powerful reflection on the entropy of fame and power and the monuments erected in honour of these temporal qualities.

    In turn, Shelleys fame and poems will crumble to dust by gradually phasing out of the public memory. It will be superseded, forgotten and drowned out by newer poetry more kind to the ears and hearts of the times. This in part because our language will change, too. In time, the perfectly leg-ible English of Shelleys time will ap-pear as strange to us as the medieval forms do to current readers.

    As our immaterial, cultural heritage changes our material culture changes as well. People in Shelleys age, the long 19th century, witnessed a transi-tion from the artisanal to the indus-trial age. Everyday items ceased to be made by craftsmen, but were mass produced in factories. New words were needed to describe the times, new genres of literature emerged to record and shape the state of the culture. Shelley and the romantic poets wilfully fled the modern times, by recreating scenes from Antiquity and the Middle Ages in their Roman-tic writings.

    Other writers werent afraid to tackle the issues of the times: at the end of the long Industrial century in which

    Shelley wrote other writers confronted the trappings of the age head on: the rise of industrialism and the concur-rent urbanization gave us Dickens and Zola, Modern Times and Germinal.

    Poets and consumers of this age will probably live through a similar transition: from the industrial to the personal age. in ten years, people will cease to buy most of their products from industrial stores and will instead rely on made-to-order items out of the 3D-printer, customized to individual needs based on designs floating in a world wide cloud.

    Some writers will turn to the past, unable to find themselves at ease in the rapidly changing material climate. Others will be more attuned to the 21st century, describing the tangible and intangible in the first decades of the new millenium. In ten years from

  • 20

    jens Iverson

    If a modification is desired, it can be tried. And those modifications can be shared.In Rwanda, Partners in Health oper-ates 40 health facilities. What if the modification discovered in Haiti was useful there? What if Rwandan doctors could help Haitian doctors innovate? Periphery-to-periphery collaboration is hard, even within the same organiza-tion. Language, distance, time-zones, and disconnection from the centers of mass manufacturing are real barriers. But a manufactured object shares the same mathematical reality in Rwanda or Haiti. This technology will have its foremost impact in the periphery, connecting points on the (former) periphery into new centers of innova-tion. There are other peripheries. Oil platforms. Antarctica. Mars. The principle is the same. The future will be forged at the frontier.

    The Future of 3D Printing: From the Center to the Periphery

    The future is already here, its just unevenly distributed. William GibsonAdditive manufacturing will change the worldbut not where you might think. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) will have its greatest ef-fect not in high-tech centers in highly-industrialized societies, but rather in areas underserved by mass manufac-turing. Those in the global periphery have the most to gain.

    A comparison with mobile phone technology is helpful. Mobile phones had their greatest impact in areas with few landlines. In the 1990s, the only option for a telephone connection in much of the developing world was to wait for years and pay exorbitant costs for the state-run telephone company to connect a physical landline. Mobile telephones revolutionized the com-munications landscape in the Global South. The world of phone commu-nications in the developing world is overwhelmingly mobile. Thats not to say mobile telephones arent important in heavily industrialized countriesbut if they disappeared tomorrow the world would not be as fundamentally changed as in developing countries, where mobiles are almost the only modern communications option. The greatest impact was on the periphery.

    Mass manufacturing relies on global industrial and transportation net-works. This serves those at the func-tional center of those networks well. It is remarkably cheap for something to be made in Jinjiang (with materials from Congo) and shipped to Am-sterdam. But what of Haiti? Haitis shipping ports are amongst the most

    expensive to use, and its road infra-structure is a shambles. It is hard to get things there, particularly quickly. It is the functional periphery.

    The Partners in Health hospital in Haiti will continue to need internation-al shipments. But if a portion of those slow, expensive shipments could be reduced because of additive manufac-turing, that could make a crucial dif-ference. If a piece of expensive medical equipment breaks, instead of ordering a replacement or fashioning something by hand, a precise replacement could be made on the spot. Transporta-tion and industrial networks are like landlines. If they are mostly absent, the new technology may be the only viable game in town. It may be functionally impossible to remotely manufacture a customized prosthetic and ship it to those who need it. Local, additive manufacture may be the only real op-tion in some instances.

  • Ive done IT consulting in the past, so the 3D Printing competition

    and workshops were a fun activity to go back

    to that is different from

    my current focus.

  • What I enjoyed most about this competition

    is the exploration of this whole unknown field

    of technology and the future.

  • 23

    Lisanne Nederlof

    lighter. The lighter the plane, the less fuel it needs to fly. The decline of fuel needed also saves in the costs, making flying more available to the broader public.

    Due to this additive process of layer-ing material on top of material, there is little to no waste. Thus, there are also environmental advantages.

    Mr. Bastian Schaefer of Airbus shared in Todays Talk a vision for the sus-tainable future of aviation: a Jumbo Jet thats light, cheap and spacious, with an exterior that mimics the struc-ture of the bone. He imagines the jet as a living, breathing organism.

    Many people are doubtful about the plans to print entire planes, which are still safe. Some UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles) however, are already en-tirely made with the help of 3D-print-

    Print Mode: On

    In this essay I would like to promote a very bold idea: that in the near future, we may be able to 3D-Print actual Jumbo Jets. The use of 3D printers for manufacturing is relatively cheap, so it is very likely that 3D printers are here to stay. So, why stop at a kidney, and why not also take care of the transport?

    The usage of 3D-printing isnt a new development; this year the first Airbus 380s got 3D-printed chairs. How-ever, Airbus sees all the possibilities and advantages and keeps working on printing an entire plane

    The biggest advantage is that it will not exist out of different, welded together components, but exist out of ne single piece. This does not only make it much stronger, but also much

    ing, and the Southampton University succeeded in 2011 in printing a small plane (the SULSA) which can fly up to 160 kilometres per hour. This shows that there is no reason for doubt, and everything is possible (i).

    However, there is still a way to go before we can have Mr. Bastians Jumbo Jet. This doesnt mean that we shouldnt keep trying though. Having a vision is important. We cannot predict the future, we can only create a vision of what it might be.



  • 24

    Marialisa van de Poll, Ihwanti van Hulst & beyza Gney

    Because the Personalized Pill process does not use the mass-produced pills from pharmaceutical factories but uses only the ingredients. So, not keeping inventory of 1000s of pills but of 100s of ingredients. This will eliminate the middlemen and sharply reduce inven-tory management and transportation costs. In 10 years from now, 3D print-ers will be much more reliable, sturdy, small and affordable that even the African jungle is not a problem. Think along the lines of Bill Gates $100 computer: the $50 3D printer.

    This is why we think the 3D printer can not only change our lives but it can also save the lives of others!

    The Personal Pill

    The 3D-printer is a magnificent tool and can be used for a lot of great purposes. What greater purpose than improving the health of people who really need it? We, students of Utrecht Stedelijk Gymnasium, thought we could use the 3D printer as a tool cre-ate personalized pilles/medicine for people in third world countries.

    In 10 years from now, we assume that developing countries will still face the same economical and logistical issues we see today: poverty and an underdeveloped infrastructure (roads, hospitals, etc.). This means that the diagnosis of ill-nesses take place at a too late stage and that required medicine will take even longer to arrive. But what if you could make medicine/pills on the spot?

    Rather than storing 1000s of generic pills, the alternative is to build the pills where and when you need them.

    The docter diagnoses the illnesses and uses a computer and 3D printer to design the required medicine on the spot. No more mixing of powders or prescribing too many different pills for a single patient. Not having to mix powders eliminates the risk of using contaminated water. Plus, the person-alized pill is not only efficient, it will also be much more effective due to very precise dosage and the possibili-ties to store patient data and medicine history for further tweaking of the healing process.

    But I know what you are thinking. Why use expensive printers deep in the African jungle? And even if we could: how do we pay for them?

  • Think along the lines of Bill Gates $100

    computer: the $50 3D printer.

  • It is obvious that to become widespread

    and a paradigm-shifter, 3D-printers have to be cheap, easy to operate,

    appealing by design, produce high quality

    output, etc., etc.

  • 27

    Mark van Leeuwen

    if you are used to starting your dish washer before you go to bed, you dont mind how long it takes, as long as its finished next morning. If this is the way to 3D-print objects, instead of watching grass grow if you are sitting in front of your printer, then you can surprise yourself with each nights production during breakfast.

    The other resources, energy and raw production material usage, take us to the marginal costs of 3D-printing your own stuff. Although one of the present-day 3D-printing technologies has to melt every millimeter of plastic it is fed, this will probably not contribute to a large electricity bill. A major cost factor could be the pro-duction material, especially if there is a need for higher quality output. But apart from purchase cost there is also an environmental cost. In an ultimate-ly recycling ideal world, you would reprint, using broken or obsolete 3D-printed objects as the raw material for new objects. Less waste, more Design!

    3D-printing in 10 years, 3 reasons that will influence its impact

    People speculate wildly on possible applications of home-application of 3D-printing. Some predict Jetson-style appliances that spit out every-thing you can ask for, and more. It is good to have an unbound vision of the future and more often than not, real-ity in 10 years even develops beyond those visions. Regarding this, it is a good thing to realize which factors will influence this 3D-printing revolution in production technology.

    1: The printer itself It is obvious that to become wide-spread and a paradigm-shifter, 3D-printers have to be cheap, easy to operate, appealing by design, pro-duce high quality output, etc., etc. In short, everything that makes an Apple-product attractive to the wider audience, except maybe for the cheap-ness. Although Apple demonstrated that a high price does not have to be an obstacle for a product to become a market-dominator.

    2: What to print? This is a chicken-and-egg argument with the preceding one. Without apps, no one would buy an iPhone, and without an iPhone, there wouldnt be any apps. The present day user com-munity of 3D-printer owners is much like the first generation that bought a home-computer: they do their own programming. But the majority of present day digital consumers who download music for instance, does not know the technical details of the File Transfer Protocol. The fact that downloading tools and digital music are widely available created the suc-

    cess of this market. For 3D-printing to become widespread, designs should be easy to obtain, mostly free, and easy to change to personal specifica-tions if needed. A marketplace for digital designs could be started by a manufacturer of 3D-printers, but similar developments have shown that once there is a need, caused by a product that everyone wants to pos-sess, the crowd will swiftly come with better alternatives for sharing designs.

    3: Precious resources: time, energy and material Obviously, you want results quickly. Todays 3D-printers produce objects with matrix-printer speeds of old, using comparable underlying technol-ogy. These production times have to come down and whether a Moores Law doubling of speed is achievable every 18 months, or that we will be stuck with improvements comparable to the increments in battery-power for mobile devices, only the future will tell. This is also related to the expectations of the user community:

  • 28

    Nicolas Castellon

    tents made of nylon and polyester in exchange for more sustainable and ecologically friendly biodegradable materials.

    The 3D printer is a game changer technology. This technology opens the doors to different conceptions of how we experience life. People will have a closer relationship with their consumer goods once they have cre-ated them themselves, people will no longer die from shortage of organ donors, art will be a deeper expres-sion of the mind, and we can aim for a printed moon colony in the near future. Just at the price of printing a single sheet of paper or an entire book has gone down massively from what it cost in the 1970s, 3D printing technol-ogy will at one point adjust to market demand and become more economi-cally accessible to the average person. 3D printing technology will spark the Democratization of Creation.

    The Democratization of Creation

    3D printing is the next step in human evolution. Never before has mankind been able to extract forms from their minds in the most abstract ways and been able to insert the input into a device and gotten a real physi-cal object closely resembling the idea in our heads. Creative ideas will no longer be trapped in the minds of those who conceive them. Verbal limitations of our thought expression can now be trespasses with the birth of this new technology. Just as the conven-tional 2D printer changed the way we communicate, use currency, spread literature, and reproduce private or commercial knowledge, the 3D printer will be the new benchmark in creativ-ity. This technology will change our relationship to consumption of goods, medicine, art, and education and it will offer mankind the solution to col-lective problems we have not faced yet.

    The gap between producer and consumer will be bridged with the 3D printer. Consumer goods will be created at home on a computer and be designed by the average person without the need of massive industrial equipment or great amount of investment. Goods will be perfected by people, promoting commercial flow and stimulate economic competition. Manufacturing will now occur at home. Businesses such as Ikea will be able to sell their 3D designs and place them online where people can down-load them and print them for direct use. The limits to art will no longer be the paint brush and canvass or other materials used today, the 3D printer will allow for beauty within the mind

    to be materialized in plastics and other synthetic and organic materials that will be available in the future.

    Medicine will be endowed with the replication of human bones and or-gans. Prosthetics can be printed to the design of original limbs, knee caps, ribs, femurs and toes and the per-fection of gelatin bio-ink will create functioning organs for people in need of transplants. Just as people born after the late 1980s were taught how to use a 2D printer in computer class, students will be educated on how to use design programs like AutoCAD and use them to design objects and print them into reality. Many technological shortcom-ings will be bridged by the prolif-eration of 3D printers. Ideas such as printing a base on the moon can become a reality within the next 10 years. This technology can be used for the creation of temporary refugee homes, replacing the blue UNHCR

  • The most interesting thing about this competition is to see how ideas can

    be materialized. We are transitioning into a time where 3D printers will

    become a household staple, and by then the industrial capacity of these machines will increase exponentially. Our imagination is the only tool available to foresee the

    future of these devices.

  • Although it was fun to actually print a custom

    3D model, the most interesting aspect about

    3D printing which caught my attention, is the enormous potential

    of this technology to radically change

    the way products are developed, produced

    and sold to end-users.

  • 31

    Steven jol

    political and economical influence. Of course this is rather radical future vision, but keep in mind one product can already change the world. What if everyone is able to print electrical boards in order to build electronic products such as mobile phones? You dont need to be a rocket scientist to see the world would be turned up side down.

    My thoughts on the social implications of 3d printing Although 3d printing is still in its infancy because of the limited pos-sibilities and the lack of accessibility, experts agree that the potential of this new, disruptive, technology might change the world even more than the internet has done. Many expect 3d printers to be affordable and benefi-cial for all households in a couple of years and being able to produce all kinds of products, consisting of vari-ous materials. The way I see it, the impact of 3d printing is not limited to certain products, but the technology itself will change the world massively.

    First of all, global wealth will increase since everyone will be able to produce all kind of products, for example food, clothing, medicine etc. with their own micro production facility. For production only raw materials will be needed. These materials need to be mined/gathered, processed and transported. Because manufacturing is taken out of the equation it will lead to an enormous improvement of the efficiency of global economy. In line of Schumpeters view of innovation, it will lead to a destruction of cur-rent economic structures, leading to new, more valuable activities. Instead of wasting time on manufacturing products, humankind might be able to spend more time towards mean-ingful activities, such as art, science and personal development. In in-development countries the increase in wealth will be especially extensive, as they will be able to produce their own medicine, food and cloths.

    Second, the economic model will change. Karl Marxs dream and

    vision will become reality: produc-tion facilities are decentralized and possibly owned by every citizen. Every end- consumer shop, such as super markets or clothing store, will be ob-solete in the new economic structure. The free market will shift towards the exchange of raw materials and 3d designs. Initially, existing industries will probably try to stop the spreading of the 3d designs by lobbying to gov-ernments for patent protection and copyrights laws. However, as can be seen by illegal downloading of music, software and movies, developing a dynamic capability in order to adapt to societal trends is more beneficial to industries than resistance.

    This new economic model will also come with a shift in the global field of political forces. The economic super-power of the US is mostly based upon the export of their products, which will come to an end. The battle on raw materials, which is already started as shown by for example the influence of China in Africa, will become intensive. As there is no need any more for pro-duction of goods by commercial com-panies, the countries themselves can sell their raw materials. This means a continent as Africa, which is rich of commodities, could become the new economic superpower. Intermediary production countries such as the US lose their value in the market place.

    In Summary, 3d printing will promise a gigantic change for human kind; economic and health wise, but also in a more intellectual and personal way. While this is a positive future outlook, governments are burdened with the complications of leading the shift towards the new structure and prob-ably resist in giving up their current

  • 32

    Warsha koeldiep

    blueprints, but with a high risk that it could be pirated, resulting in a huge financial loss.

    If the this idea would lead to a very high amount fashion that is printed, a lot of waste could also arise, because most of the humans are mostly looking for things that make them feel/look better. There could be an explosive increase of demand for raw materials, that could go at the expense of the environment.

    The idea of printing fashion could land very good in the first world, but to my opinion there should also be done more further research on the effects in third world countries: We can have a very romantic diner in our most fashionable outfit, but what if people on the other side of the world do not even have money for food?

    What the world needs The older planet earth gets, the more materialistic human beings become. Fast cars, big mansions and beautiful women are presented by the media and with that they are influencing the viewers directly. The society is nowadays more quickly aware of what is happening in the world, but they are also up to date about the private lives of the famous stars. The latex suit of Miley Cyrus was not such a juicy choice after all, confirmed by the twerking and sticking out her tongue. The society is not only influenced by the behaviour of celebs, but also on the way they dress. This already hap-pens for ages.

    Fashion is a very important element in our lives. It tells something about who somebody is, how the people pre-sent themselves and what our poten-tial background could be. Fashion is a phenomenon where the 3D printer should be responding to. It could be very realistic that a 3D printer could print a fashionable jacket of fake leather in 10 years. If companies would sell the design of their fashion online then people would be able to print their fashion at home. People could also design their own fashion, without even touching a needle and thread.

    Social implicationsThe introduction of printing fashion could lead to an explosion of people who expose themselves by show-ing items that are completely their flavour. The streetscape within any civilized area could change drasti-cally. Expensive fashion (items) could become more affordable, which could also support lower classes in the first worlds society.

    Except that fashion would be more affordable/customizable, the arrival of the 3D printer which focuses on printing fashion, could lead to an incredibly high unemployment rate in low-wage countries (like Bangladesh, India, China, etc.) resulting in more poverties in these areas. It also has got an impact on the jobs in retail and other fashion related businesses: Many companies would need to sack off their employees or even close their doors. Printing fashion would lead to a shift of business opportuni-ties. While fashion retailers would go through hard times, software com-panies could get a piece of the pie by making use of huge business oppor-tunities: Software companies could develop applications which helps people design their own fashion more easily, showing patterns, models, etc. Fashion retailers could also sell their

  • This competition gave me more insights of

    the possibilities within 3D printing , resulting into a better image of what the future will bring and giving me more inspiration for

    innovative ideas.

  • 34

    message from the winner

    When the Leiden University Innovation Centre in Den Hague, asked people to come up with a innovative idea for 3-D printing that could help to make this world a better place, we decided to enter this competition. We never thought we stood a chance as our competitors were all university students and even lectur-ers. We came up with the idea for a personal pill, which can be printed locally and will save costs for packaging, distribution and can be customized according to the patients needs. It was an incredible learning experience and we are thrilled that we came in at first place and went home with a real Ultimaker, we still cant believe it! We want to thank the Centre for Innovation for helping us to understand all the possibilities of 3D-printing!

    Marialisa van de Poll

  • 35

    Closing Remarks

    This competition has produced more than just one winner! Overall, it encour-aged a variety of people to further explore the developments of 3D printing, whether that be tinkering with Tinkercad and giving 3D modelling a try or exploring the various technological, social, legal and developmental implica-tions of this rapidly developing technology. This competition, in addition to a 3D printing summer course that was held in the summer of 2013, developed a community of students and practitioners that are continuing the exploration of this technology within the field of the social sciences.

    Overall, this event proved very successful in bringing people from different disciplines, age-groups and expertise together to discuss the ongoing develop-ments and future implications of 3D printing technologies. We hope you enjoy reading more about the ideas that circulated through our community and that developed over the period of the competitions duration. We aspire to continue encouraging these activities and to develop greater insights of the potential opportunities and possible threats that might derive from the ongoing develop-ments of personalized manufacturing technologies.

    If you are interested in taking part in similar activities or would like to get initi-ate a project of your own involving 3D printing, please let us know! You can contact us via and you can join us on Facebook We look forward to hearing from you!

  • About UsThe Centre for Innovation the Hague is the living lab of the Leiden University - Campus The Hague. The centre was setup in 2007 as part of the European Union Fund for Regional Development (EFRO) in line with Aim 2 of the EU cohesion policy to implement projects who contribute to the development in the Netherlands. Now the Centre has developed to a genuine living lab that facilitates cooperation between public and private actors in the field of govern-ance innovation.

    Contact UsCentre for Innovation The HagueLeiden University - Campus Den HaagLocation Schouwburgstraat:Schouwburgstraat 22511 VA Den HaagTel: +31 (0) 70-800 9500Email:

    editorsSjoerd LouwaarsMarkolf von Ketelhodt



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