Critics of 3D printing (aka, those that haven’t taken the time to really learn about it) often mock home 3D printers as just toys that print out little Yodas, miniature Eiffel Towers and other useless things. First of all, they have no vision — people were not doing very sophisticated things with the early Apple, TRS-80 and Commodore computers either. But second, they have not opened their eyes to the really useful items that people are already printing with even the less expensive of home 3D printers now. They often aren’t well-publicized because so many of these applications are completely unique to the individual designing the model and therefore have no mass appeal. But that’s what makes the proliferation of home 3D printers so important — it’s not that they can print any of the items on Thingiverse, but that they can print an item NOT on Thingiverse, something that only they might need, that they cannot get (or cannot get cheaply enough) elsewhere.
The video here illustrates this point beautifully. What he does is not going to set the world on fire. In fact, he may well be the only person that will ever benefit from what’s he’s created. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Each person with a 3D printer can create what he and he alone needs.
The gentleman in the video always wanted a professional camera dolly to handle tracking shots. But if you’ve ever looked at the prices of professional camera gear, you know you must have a very large budget for things like dollies. But, hot damn, he’s got a 3D printer, and with it he set out to create some parts to make his own dolly.
Again, this particular project is just another relatively unknown project, which alone won’t change the world. But think of 3D printers in the hands of millions of creative people some day — now that’s a revolution.