The film “Print the Legend,” which debuted at SXSW 2014 and received immediate accolades from critics, was recently picked up for distribution by Netflix. Centered around 3D printing, dubbed as the “next Industrial Revolution,” the film takes you behind the scenes of the top companies and players and provides glimpses into the challenges they’ve faced over the past few years. The producers of the film, having set out years ago to find the next Steve Jobs and their “Macintosh moment,” had no idea where the path of 3D printing would take them.
Starting with two small booths shoved in a corner, the 3D-printing industry now occupies entire sections at Maker Faires across the globe, printing everything from jewelry to prosthetic hands. Companies anticipate greater production speed with 3D printing, including rapid prototyping of devices and components and speeding up the R&D process, thus accelerating time to market for consumer products.
While 3D printing’s current influence on the engineering industry is undeniable. It’s gone so mainstream that just about everyone is talking about it, or at least knows of the technology.
In terms of “makers,” the rise of 3D printing is core to what the movement is actually about. The maker community, which promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education by essentially disguising it under robots and games, separates itself from traditional education tracks by being all-inclusive. Newcomers and industry veterans are welcomed with open arms in the hopes they will find something new and interesting to spark their imaginations rather than application fees and wait-list letters.
A parallel can be drawn with 3D printing—letting people bring even the smallest ideas to fruition in ways that weren’t previously possible. This is helped along by the increase of Kickstarter and other crowdsourcing campaigns And much of the 3D printing community is open source, with a constant stream of ideas and improvements flowing in and out. Schematics ranging from bottle openers to life-sized robots can be downloaded with the click of a few buttons, ready to be sent to one’s own desktop printer or nearby maker space in a flash.
At the 2014 Maker Faire in New York City, 3D printing virtually took over the event. The major players, including MakerBot, Formlabs, and Lulzbot, all had spaces showing off their goods. However, they were also surrounded by the littler guys doing stuff that was just as interesting. Stands with printed metal jewelry lined up next to booths with printed hydroponic pieces that let people build their own gardens.
Kids watched as thefast-moving printers made little figurines they could play with; one machine was even printing chocolate.
Print the Legend will be available for streaming on Netflix on September 26th. Watch the trailer below.