An interesting article from BBC News discusses the potential for 3D printers in education. A few years ago, Adrian Bowyer, a mechanical engineering professor at Bath University in the UK, started a project called RepRap that allows anyone to build an openly licensed 3D printer for objects. The printers are affordable to build so schools could use them to give students the opportunity to design and print 3D models. However, this type of technology will likely expose inadequacies in copyright laws. Bill Thompson, author of the article explains, “3D printing will soon come up against laws made in a world of factories and machine tools, and the battle is likely to be even more intense than that over music and films.”
Here is a video demo of RepRap with more information about the technology.