May 17, 2013 ยท 0 minutes

3D printing has garnered a lot of press lately, thanks in large part to the Liberator, Cody Smith's (almost) fully 3-D printed gun. But as Chris Dixon noted at last night's PandoMonthly, popular discourse tends to gravitate toward the most outrageous and divisive uses of a technology, whether it's drones, bitcoin, or 3D printing.

That's why it's important to look back on how technologies like 3D printing have evolved, both to remember the milestones that brought us to where we are today and to predict how these technologies might evolve in the future. From food to prosthetics to automobiles, the 3D printing revolution is about so much more than the whims of one 2nd Amendment-brandishing gunmaker. We're not quite to the point where people can order a pair of pants online then print them out at home. But with 3D printing, it's easy to imagine physical goods undergoing the same kind of digital, democratic revolution that media's undergone over the past 10 years.