A while back I cam across the Projet x60 by 3D systems. You can see in the video above its amazing capabilities to print objects in full vivid color, giving more of a finished look rather than a rough prototype. So how do you get to Broadway? Well unlike the joke answer, “practice”, did you know 3D printing is already commonly used by the theater industry?
Just a couple of weeks ago I caught “Book of Mormon”, the award winning musical. I was in the cheap seats, too far away to enjoy much set detail, but I know most set designers are meticulous in creating great props and environments for the actors. You can read a great article about how 3D printing is revolutionizing the work of Broadway scenic designers at Playbill.com. One could imagine how the full color ability of the Project x60 would be an amazing feature for applications like this. Here’s a good piece about how one particular scenic designer uses 3D printing to bring miniature versions of furniture for broadway sets to life. The designer in the piece uses a monochrome Makerbot device as opposed to the Projet x60’s beautiful color combinations, but it explains the need and use for this technology as she makes dollhouse-looking miniature custom furniture.
So where does this go from here? We have a giant dollhouse in our basement from my wife’s childhood, but what if that was our dream house? I could imagine architects or landscape designers printing full color 3D models for clients rather than paper or cardboard. You could even fill them full of your furnishings and get the complete look or quickly see how that home renovation may change things. Who knows, maybe in 30 years our kids will even be able to design a custom dollhouse using the same technology!