3D Printing. By the People. For the People.

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By now, you’ve surely seen coverage of the Cortex Cast, a futuristic-looking plaster alternative designed to make kids who fall out of trees and the cast of “Jackass” look cool when it’s time to set a broken bone.

This cast shows everything that any 3D printing innovation should, primarily that it is better than the legacy solution: its superior design could make the “bulk, weight, and suffocation from ordinary plaster casts” a thing of the past; its honeycomb design more accurately mimics the structure of natural bone tissue; and each cast is customizable to the exact contours of the wearer’s body.

We love that this is getting coverage; still, we wonder: is the media missing the point?  Is yet another story of an innovative medical device with far-reaching implications, a popular “wow” factor, and a sleek design, really new?  Again and again, we are fed stories designed to convince us that 3D printing can do things better, faster, and cheaper.  But don’t we already get it?  And—let’s be honest—isn’t there something more?

We say yes.

The real story here is that the “someone” who invented this wasn’t a medical device company.  A team of product developers did not spend three years and millions of dollars bringing this to fruition.  In order to move this forward, no corporate bureaucracy was required.  The real story here is that the product was developed   by recent university grad, Jake Evill, of New Zealand, in three months, and at a cost of just $80 to reproduce the final design.

To focus on how this product really came to life is to understand Fabricastl’s “By the people. For the people.” philosophy.  Said Fabricastl founder Brian Palacios, “The true potential of 3D printing is not in the “what,” but in the “how.”  We are in such a state of wonderment about the products themselves that we forget to be awed by the fact that the developers of these innovations aren’t companies—they’re people like you and I.”

Photo Rights: Jake Evill

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