TCS: 3-D Printers ‘Just One Word – Plastics’

The Coffee Shop is an open thread-style discussion forum for human interest news of the day.


This is an open thread. There are several hosts, each host being responsible for picking a “theme of the day” and starting the discussion. However, there is no hard and fast rule about staying on topic, especially if you have a personal story burning a hole in your pocket trying to escape.

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This is an Open Thread. Grab your cup, pull up a chair, sit a spell and share what’s on your mind today.

Remember this scene in the movie The Graduate?

The Graduate - plastics

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Benjamin: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Benjamin: Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?

Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

Well, Mr. McGuire might be right. Welcome to the brave new world of 3-D printers.

Like most “Progress” there may be some drawbacks – like putting lots of people out of work, and what happens when we run out of petroleum, and a whole array of deadly weapons made right in your own home out of a material that can pass through metal detectors, without having any paperwork or serial numbers to help law enforcement trace one used to commit a crime.

But it also means that artificial limbs and even organ parts could be made at a very reasonable cost – especially important for young children, whose needs change with their growing bodies.

3-D Printing opens up possibilities for building small housing units cheaply for the homeless, or for creating temporary shelters after a flood or an earthquake has destroyed conventional housing.

So, would you want to be a passenger in a plastic plane made on a giant printer? Or live in a plastic house?

The Graduate, screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, based on a novel by Charles Webb, was directed by Mike Nichols, and starred Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. It debuted in 1967. Mike Nichols won an Academy Award for Best Director.

Mr. McGuire was played by Walter Brooke.


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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8 Responses to TCS: 3-D Printers ‘Just One Word – Plastics’

  1. Thank you, Nona! Perhaps someday 3D printers will be household appliances as common as the microwave oven. And not just plastics; already such printers can use metals, ceramics, food — even stem cells!

    Living in 3D printed houses and flying in printed planes? Sure, absent potential safety issues such as flammability, off-gassing, etc.

  2. wordcloud9 says:

    I immediately thought of the Hindenburg when I looked at the plastic planes. And with buildings, is there something that can be added to the mix to prevent them from degrading from UV exposure?

    But the artificial limbs seem like a great idea.

  3. Squirrels. Perhaps I have mutant squirrels – the ones in my yard started with gnawing through the ties on the chainlink fence, then moved on to plastics …. Imagine mutant plastic-obsessed squirrels attacking a house.

    (Squirrel incisors grow continuously at a rate of about 6″ per year, and must be ground down, normally through top rubbing past bottom.)

  4. wordcloud9 says:

    My husband has a major problem with squirrels on golf courses. They’ve eaten through two snack bags made out of ballistic nylon, the same stuff as soft-sided luggage. One did while he was standing right there yelling at the fearless beast with its head all the way inside the accessory pocket on his golf bag that it had already unzipped so it could gnaw through the goody bag inside it.

  5. Nona,
    They make rodent repellent. The critters have extremely keen sense of smell, so don’t like some odors. He might try mothballs in the golf bag. Some rodent repellent is made from the urine or musk of certain predators, such as coyotes. You may not be able to smell it, but the rodent can.

  6. wordcloud9 says:

    He just stopped carrying snacks with him after the second bag was destroyed.

  7. Rodent repellent would be worth a try if it is nontoxic. I dont want to hurt thesquirrels, and the areas where I am having the squirrel problem are where my veggies grow and where the dog romps.

  8. Most animal repellents and non-toxic. They are designed to repel, not kill. Check the garden chemicals section of your home store or well stocked greenhouse. Some of the repellents are designed to repel certain species of animals. For example, around here, gardeners want to keep deer out of the lettuce and cabbage. There are repellents specifically for deer. The main rodent pests are squirrels and rabbits. Most repellents are based on odors known to be noxious or frightening to certain animals, even though you may not be able to smell them yourself. For example, concentrated pellets of coyote or cougar musk or urine is threatening to certain animals.

    If you use coyote or wolf based repellents, I would test it out in a non-garden spot to see how the dog reacts. He may have an urge to pee on it.

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