I found an interesting article today. Photographer Joe Murphy has manufactured his own tilt-shift lens adapter using a 3D printer. I paid over $2,000 for my Canon 24mm tilt-shift lens. I doubt I would have done that if I were able to do what Joe Murphy did. Add to that, the designs are available for anyone to download and use for free.
This brings up issues I was discussing with a friend a few weeks back. 3D printing is very expensive now. When home printers first came into being, they were expensive too. It didn’t take long before the prices dropped to an affordable level. This will happen with 3D printers as well.
What does this mean? Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the average person will be able to manufacture equipment at home for a fraction of the cost of buying it from a large company. I can see this happening with all sorts of things: table ware such as plates and utensils, car parts, belts, and even camera equipment. Imagine you have the misfortune of breaking a piece of your expensive camera lens. No worries, just print a replacement part. Need to add a bottle holder for your gear bag? Whip one out in a flash and add it on. The possibilities are endless.
What’s the bad news? Camera companies may lose sales because anyone will be able to copy their designs and print them out. Manufacturing jobs may shrink due to lost sales. Granted, the size of printing is limited to the size of the 3D printer, and the material may not be a good as that used by say, Canon, but technology will catch up in that regard too. The future looks quite intriguing.