What if a game console came with a 3D printer?

Today I read about the hoo-hah surrounding whether the files for a 3D-printed gun should be allowed to be distributed on the Internet. It’s disturbing stuff, the idea that anyone could just print themselves a gun, even if the current designs are, frankly, a bit rubbish and liable to blow up in your hand. But this paragraph at the end of the article got me thinking:

Will we ever get to the point where printing a gun at home is as easy as printing a photo?

Probably, said Max Lobovsky, CEO of Formlabs, one of the first companies to market low-cost professional 3D printers. But that won’t happen for some time.

“In 10 or 15 years, we’ll probably have a low-cost device that can produce fairly complete firearms or other weapons,” said Lobovsky.

OK, this is slightly terrifying. But it made me wonder – if in 10 years’ time we’ll have a low-cost 3D printer that can print guns as easily as printing a photo, what else could it make?

I did a feature on the Casio Loopy recently, a 1990s console that had a built-in sticker printer. Now imagine there was a console with a built-in 3D printer or one that you could plug in as an accessory. Once the cost of 3D printers gets low enough and they get efficient enough, this could be a real possibility.

Imagine winning a trophy in Smash Bros, then pressing a button and printing it out in 3D. Or a puzzle where you have to print out shapes that you need to piece together to solve it. Or perhaps you could print pieces of a toy that you could assemble.

I’ll see you back here in 10 years’ time for the announcement of the the Nintendo 3D printer.