Portland Ripe To Be A 3-D Printing Leader?

Peter Korn | KOIN.com | July 3, 2014

A Nebraska violinist wanted to design and construct a customized violin for his wife using his own ideas, but he had no experience as an instrument maker.  An Astoria boy, born without most of his right hand, could not find a prosthetic that fit properly. A custom-made prosthetic hand would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

...Each of these problems found a quick and cheap solution in Portland because of a new technology that no less than President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address last year, hailed as “the next revolution in manufacturing.”  Its proponents say 3-D printing holds the promise for corporations and individuals to print out their own three-dimensional objects as easily as we now print paper documents on inkjet printers. Local promoters of the crafts and tech communities say Portland, with its abundance of young creatives immersed in a DIY ethic, is perfectly positioned to take advantage of that revolution. But some say if that’s the intention, the city has a ways to go.

Many of the heralded “breakthroughs” using 3-D printing are teasers — new uses that provide creative thinkers with a sense of possibilities. David Perry’s 3-D-printed fiddle, which he recently displayed at the White House, is a perfect example. A home-printed electric violin that produces authentic music? Cool...