3D printing is now such an established technology that China has opened a 3D printing museum. The DRC Industrial Design and Creative Industry Base opened recently in Beijing and is welcoming visitors to sample what the future of manufacturing has in store.
We’re not sure what exhibits could be displayed in a museum for a technology that is less than 30 years old. But with the explosions of consumer level 3D printers hitting the market in the last few years China is trying to show its people what it’s all about.
It’s being promoted as the world’s first 3D printer museum, with positive messages such as this being spun:
“Visitors will now be able to experience just what this amazing technology can create. Anyone curious about 3D printing should get themselves along where they can have their entire body scanned. Multi-dimensional data is then stored and processed which after several hours ends up as a physical mini life like sculpture for the mantelpiece.”
Museum visitors will be a able to have a full-body 3D scan and receive a 3D printed model figure of themselves as they leave. If you don’t want a mini-me you can also print out cans, rings, vases, shoes, dolls and the ever popular iPhone accessories.
This doesn’t really sound like a museum to us, but more of a 3D printing service for the locals. Anything that gets people interested in a new technology must be applauded, especially one which has the potential to negatively impact China in the long run.
China is the leading in the cheap manufacture of the West’s consumer goods, but its exports have been hit hard by reduced demand during the current economic downturn. Many domestic firms are switching production back to the U.S., including Apple, and coupled with the government investments in 3D printing China may lose out even more in the future.
In response China’s leaders are trying to fight back by also investing heavily in 3D printing and this “museum” might prove to be a good way of getting its population on-board. They are already proving to be world leaders in 3D printing as they are using 3D printed aviation parts in their new aircraft.