RepRap, makers of fine self-replicating 3D printerse, offers us a glimpse of the future. Their future is one where advanced electronics can be built in the comfort of your own home for a fraction of the price. Their latest project offers us a small look at what that future might look like.
Last week, RepRap finished printing out an entire DSLR Canon 5D camera. It includes the body and a permanently attached zoom lens. As you would expect, the camera doesn't work. This is more like a proof of concept. The guys at RepRap are proving that advanced shapes can be printed via a cheap 3D printer like the RepRap. Here's a video that shows more detail:
Speaking to the Fabbaloo blog, RepRapCentral says that the future will one day allow the printing of optics and dials. Combine this with 3D printable electronics, and you have a fully-functional 3D printed camera on your hands. It's still a ways out there, but the future is always one day closer.
I can almost guarantee that advancements in 3D printable electronics will be met with the utmost resistance. The camera industry is already facing hard times, and giving people the ability to make their own cameras would hurt them even more. It's doesn't have to stop at cameras either. 3D printers may one day threaten the very supply and demand model that our current economy is built upon.
You can make your own Canon 5D camera right now with this handy 3D model from Thingiverse. Once again, it won't be a working camera, but it's still cool to see how 3D printers have come so far in creating complex shapes.