January 24, 2014

The Future Is Upon Us...And It's In 3D!

Unless you've been living under a rock the past few years, you've probably heard of 3D printing.  It's evidently the wave of the future that is going to revolutionize how we obtain/purchase items.  But for those of you in the dark, 3D printing allows you to basically "print" a solid object using a special machine that layers plastic (or other material) on top of itself, slowly but surely recreating that shape directly from computer-aided digital designs.

So like if your kid just watched Finding Nemo on TV and wants a toy turtle just like Crush but you're nowhere near a toy store...you just download the design and print.  Bam, toy turtle.
(Okay, not exactly "bam" printing stuff can be sloooow).

Photo lifted from 4MULE8 on Thingiverse

Now while there has been quite a bit of controversy about 3D printing...as some people have created plans to make fully functioning 3D plastic guns...just think of the applications for fishing!

Well Michael Hackney, aka the Eclectic Angler has, and has printed some very interesting things.  He showed them off the other day in the Tenkara USA forum.

Such as this fully functional, 3D printed fly fishing reel...

Image lifted from 3DPrintingindustry.com

And this 3D printed tenkara line spool...

Image lifted from Michael Hackney

While barriers to entry such as cost (these 3D printers aren't cheap) are preventing this from being a common activity in every home at this time, I can only close my eyes and fast forward 5 or 10 years into the future.  Once pricing has dropped (it always does on electronics, remember $500 VCRs?), can you imagine not needing to run to the store to pick up that missing fishing item?

Lose your favorite Rapala in a tree...just print up a new lure.  Pretty crazy...but that's the world we we're moving toward...one layer of plastic at a time.

Now who doesn't want to run out and buy a MakerBot?
What would you make with your 3D printer?


  1. I could easily see having local printing hubs with printers that carry a wider variety of colors and materials than individual consumers could afford, allowing you to design that Rapala however you want rather than it being solid red like that reel, then you print it and go pick it up. Now if they'll just design a fly tying machine that does the same thing.

    1. It's a natural extension of the concept. I could see that happening some day, especially if the printing times come down. Looking forward to the day they can print in feathers!

  2. Sam gets to work with those printers,well she will in college,next fall

  3. Btw most tamales are balsa based. ;-)

    1. Believe it or not, they've figured out a way to 3D print using wood filaments...crazy, right?

  4. Hey Michael. Been watching this for some time now and seems to me the applications are endless. It is the wave of the future.

    1. The practical uses outside of fishing are just staggering.