An interview with J. Hornick, the author of '3D Printing Will Rock the World"

  • Nimish Sany
  • 12 June , 2016

So the 3D printer made it to International Space Station successfullty. Does the space saga of the 3D printer end there? No, comes the reply from John Hornick, the author of 3D Printing Will Rock The World. Hornick bases his claim on the recent developments such as Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Airbus venturing into new pastures of aerospace manufacturing using 3D printing. An intellectual property layer, John Hornick explains in his new book how 3D printing can do a makeover on the aerospace industry.

We bring you the excerpts and highlights of's interview of John Hornick. How did you come to write the book?

Hornick: The way I got into this several years ago was a friend sent a video of a machine printing out a wrench. I thought, "This is a joke." But it wasn't. Then at Johns Hopkins [University in Baltimore], they said people were working on printing human organs. 

The press articles kept saying it presents a lot of intellectual property issues, but they never said what. I'm an intellectual property attorney, so I said, "I am going to figure out what they are." I started looking to see what work [our firm] had done in this space, and I decided to formalize that practice. I created a database. There was so much information and so much happening, I wanted it at my fingertips. I thought I really had enough information for a book, and my interest was way beyond the law. In some ways, it wrote itself. In your book you say that innovations in 3D printing could make a big difference in space, and you cite Boeing's development of a printer that works in several orientations, without the need for a single flat platform. Wouldn't you need to carry the raw materials with you?

Hornick: Yes, 3D printing in space requires having the right materials handy, and in sufficient quantity. With increasingly versatile machines and materials, it would not be necessary to stock every material under the sun (or moon). And stocking basic materials to 3D-print replacement parts (and getting them into space) would be easier than stocking every spare part that may be needed. Do you see something like a Star Trek replicator? That would mean control of materials at the molecular scale.

Hornick: Not quite like that. What I often say is something from Bill Gates — we overestimate what we can do in two years and underestimate what we can do in 10 years. Very versatile machines that can make a wide range of parts in the home and business as well, that's doable. 3D printing isn't new, where nobody has a use for it yet. The technology has been around for 30 years, and it's not going to go away. The question is how much more ubiquitous it's going to be. I just think it's impractical to think it won't get faster and easier over time.

Right now, people think of 3D printing as layer by layer. But there are some new processes that take that and they change it. Disney had a patent application [filed in April 2016]. They had a machine that makes a whole part in a vat of photopolymer, curing it [heat treating it to set the plastic] as a whole part at once. 





Nimish Sany: I bleed my thoughts on paper. And if I cant find a paper, blogs serve the purpose just fine.

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