Meet Your Speakers: John Biehler, 3D Printer Village and 3D604.org


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3D printing has put rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing in the hands of many.  Nowadays, anyone with a few hundred dollars and an Internet connection can print their own three-dimensional objects.
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As reported in the Guardian, customers may soon be able to walk into a shop and have their own jewellery, artworks or machine parts printed. We may even see 3D printing stores popping up like we see photocopy stores now.
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The technology is popular, accessible and cheap. As the multitude of uses for 3D printing emerges, the implications have become more and more astounding.
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Experiments are currently being done by:
•    NASA to potentially reduce cargo weight and volume in space
•    Doctors to print life-saving body parts
•    Scientists to construct fossil replicas and human heart cells
•    Fashion designers to create otherworldly, space-age garments
•    An American student who figured out how to print his own gun

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Local photographer, blogger, gadget geek, teacher and 3D printer builder John Biehler co-founded 3D604.org, a club of 3D printing enthusiasts who meet monthly to share their skills and knowledge.
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He’ll speak at a panel discussion on the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Speaker’s Stage about the ethics of 3D printing. They’ll discuss recent developments in the printers’ manufacturing abilities, the media’s reactions, and the potential legislative effects on 3D print users in the short and long term.

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John is also part of the team that’s bringing the 3D Printer Village to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire again this year. Voted the most popular exhibit at last year’s Faire, the Village plans to showcase 15 or more printers of different models on-site over the weekend. The printers will be running all day, printing objects for visitors to take home as a sample of the technology’s capabilities.

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I caught up with John to find out more about 3D printing in the media, his talk and what he plans on showing off at Maker Faire:
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3D printing is saving lives, and could also be used to take them. What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about making their own 3D prints?

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I think the media likes to focus on negative aspects of most things. 3D printing in my opinion is simply another tool in your toolbox to make things. Just like a hammer can be used for making things, it can also be used to break things. People are often surprised about how inexpensive 3D printing really is and it’s getting more accessible every day with better and less expensive printers. The software is also getting much better and now kids can design things with nothing more than their web browser.

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You’ll be speaking at Maker Faire on the ethics of 3D printing. Can you elaborate for us?

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We’ll have a panel of folks involved with 3D printing that will discuss some of the challenges with the technology. These include making items that are considered illegal like the 3D printed gun and the issue of copyright. For example, how are people dealing with the ease of copying 3D models for printing, instead of buying?

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Can you describe what people can expect when they visit the 3D printer village? What sort of prints will you be showing off?

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The 3D Printer Village is really a showcase of 3D printing technology. We’ll have a variety of different 3D printers on site, making stuff during the Faire. We’ll also have a pile of sample prints we’ve previously made that shows some practical and fun uses for a 3D printer in your home, work or life in general.

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Why do you think the maker movement is going strong in Vancouver?

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There are lots of very passionate people here that enjoy sharing their skills and their passion is contagious, which is why the movement keeps growing.

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Why is it important to share skills and knowledge?

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It’s partially about giving back and it’s also being able to share something you know with others. The rewards are amazing and it’s easy to do – just share what you’re good at with others.

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Be sure check out John’s talk on the Speaker Stage from 3-4 pm on Saturday, June 1.

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Haven’t bought your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet? They’re cheaper if you buy them in advance!

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Stop by The Hackery and  Lee’s Electronics for a special promo code. The Hackery and Lee’s also still have paper ticket weekend passes available at EarlyBird prices. Get ‘em before they’re gone!

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Lee’s Electronics  — 4522 Main Street
The Hackery  — 304 Victoria Drive @thehackery

 

Photos courtesy of John Biehler

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