Does the object matter anymore?

This past weekend I carted around several samples from the Makerbot and showed them I anyone who would listen. The prized first print, the spiral box, was part of my demo. Folks marveled at the shape and apparent strength.

makerbotAt one point I thought that I has lost the spiral box. I asked my 4 year old if he had seen it and he replied,”it doesn’t matter. You can always print another one.”. His remark revealed one more unique facet of 3d printing; the object no longer matters since it can easily be reprinted. He had no sentimental feelings to the box whatsoever.

There is a bit of a danger here as well. The “just print one more” philosophy could also contribute to an already massive plastic waste problem. That aside, does his view represent that of the future? If it can easily be replicated then what role does ownership of the object play? Is the design more important and therefore what people will actually care for and curate?

I did find the spiral box and plan on displaying it in a place of honor in my classroom.  Even thought it could be replicated this box will always represent the wonder that was expressed by that group of students who witnessed and ran our first Makerbot print.

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