HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Our three-dimensional fut...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:10 PM

 

Our three-dimensional future: how 3D printing will shape the global economy

Lately, it seems like nearly everything has been reproduced by a 3D printer. Between the group that 3D printed a gun, the people who printed a drone, and the army of items sold at this small marketplace for 3D printed goods, there are plenty of novelty uses for these suddenly trendy machines. We’re a long way from 3D printing a house, but it’s clear that the hobby is inching into the mainstream.

Yet it’s difficult not to wonder: at what point will 3D printing move beyond novelty to industry? Will these machines change the way we manufacture goods, and subsequently change the global economy, too? (Is it already happening before our very eyes?)

The answer: yes and no. The term “3D printing” comprises two very different worlds: hobbyist 3D printing, where people with relatively inexpensive machines print plastic objects in the comfort of their homes; and industrial 3D printing, which is usually referred to by another name: additive manufacturing. They are vastly different and will likely have divergent impacts on the economy. Both, however, are poised to alter the way businesses think about production.

---

Still, the economic impact of these kinds of 3D printed products — one-off components or replacement parts — could be radical, Anderson says. They could eliminate the need for huge warehouses of parts and cut the need for shipping different components from place to place as they’re ordered, in favor of instantly creating a perfect replica on-site. Three-dimensional printing could reduce or eliminate some of the steps between product creators and consumers. The existence of the middle man that buys, sells and ships is threatened.

“I can cost-effectively make a cell phone cover that is unique to every customer,” explains Ryan Wicker, a researcher at the University of Texas at El Paso. “I could build 100 different ones just as cost-effectively as building them all the same.” That flexibility and direct delivery is why 3D printing might change the markets for home appliances, jewelry and other small goods.

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/report/our-three-dimensional-future-how-3d-printing-will-shape-the-global-economy/559

31 replies, 2215 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Our three-dimensional future: how 3D printing will shape the global economy (Original post)
dkf Feb 2013 OP
iemitsu Feb 2013 #1
Nuclear Unicorn Feb 2013 #19
dkf Feb 2013 #21
Nuclear Unicorn Feb 2013 #22
kestrel91316 Feb 2013 #2
dkf Feb 2013 #3
kestrel91316 Feb 2013 #10
dkf Feb 2013 #12
JimDandy Feb 2013 #15
Logical Feb 2013 #24
white_wolf Feb 2013 #5
Bosonic Feb 2013 #8
ananda Feb 2013 #4
dkf Feb 2013 #6
nick of time Feb 2013 #9
JimDandy Feb 2013 #7
JimDandy Feb 2013 #11
dkf Feb 2013 #13
JimDandy Feb 2013 #16
Bosonic Feb 2013 #18
JimDandy Feb 2013 #28
morningfog Feb 2013 #23
dkf Feb 2013 #25
Tikki Feb 2013 #14
JimDandy Feb 2013 #17
TheKentuckian Feb 2013 #20
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Feb 2013 #30
iemitsu Feb 2013 #31
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 #26
JimDandy Feb 2013 #27
jayfox122 Feb 2013 #29

Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:46 PM

1. Interesting article that makes one wonder how best to prepare

young people for the jobs of tomorrow.
What occurs to me is that this development might spawn a rebirth of cottage industry craftspeople, who copy basic items then craft them into something special. Consumers want inexpensive items but many will reject the idea of using/wearing/peddling/owning homogenous, cloned items that deny people's individuality.
People need to express themselves creatively and since the industrial revolution we have increasingly been denied that opportunity (necessity). The things we need and want can be purchased much less expensively than they can be fashioned and we are kept too busy to make anything anyway.
Retailers count on our need to be creative because being denied the time or ability to express ourselves results in our buying stuff to fill the need. We opt for quantity over quality.
Maybe these machines will encourage us to make the things we need again. That would be wonderful.
But then again, the machines might alienate us even more from our once self-reliant beings.
Fascinating to ponder.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to iemitsu (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 03:33 PM

19. Marx dreamed of the day the workers would control the means of production

Well, here it is.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #19)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:29 PM

21. Actually there are no workers in this, only creators/designers.

 

You can no longer rely on an employer who creates and invests. There is only you, sinking or swimming based on your own talent.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Reply #21)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:32 PM

22. Some would call that

freedom.

And, of course, I meant that in the context of working for one's self.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:49 PM

2. It's just one MORE way to manufacture plastic crap.

BFD

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:53 PM

3. And metal crap...

 

Far from your living room or office is the world of the factory — the large, the numerous, at a scale that eclipses that of a human. This world of 3D printing, or, as industry designers call it, “additive manufacturing,” is far more mature. Industry has been printing parts for years now, from plastic vents to airplane parts to cars.

Take U.S. aerospace leader Boeing, for example. The company has two entire divisions dedicated to additive manufacturing: one for plastics, and another for metals. The two present quite different challenges. Plastic 3D printing is a more developed process, used for simple components such as vents and knobs. Metals, on the other hard, are far more complex, often used for structural components that require more safety oversight. Yet parts comprised of either material are made with the same process. More applications are expected in the near future.

As adoption increases, the potential impact of additive manufacturing on the labor force is difficult to understate. Traditional manufacturing requires a lot of unskilled labor, which is far less expensive in developing nations such as China and India. As globalization took hold over the last several decades, international outsourcing by companies pulled jobs away from former manufacturing hubs like the United States. In an additive manufacturing-based industry, that’s not necessary. Plus, the jobs that support it tend to be more, not less, skilled. “You’re electromagnetically steering an electron beam, which is a very powerful energy source,” says Dave Dietrich, the lead engineer from the metals group at Boeing. “These people are heavily trained technicians.”

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/report/our-three-dimensional-future-how-3d-printing-will-shape-the-global-economy/559

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:38 PM

10. 3D "printers" use a plastic resin, not metal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:40 PM

12. Boeing is using the technology for metal parts too.

 

That's the industrial use side, Read the blurb or the article for more on this.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:48 PM

15. Can the resin be made from recycled plastics/materials?

Last edited Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:18 AM - Edit history (1)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:39 PM

24. LOL, yes, because technology never advances. n-t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:54 PM

5. I think "crap" is too strong a word.

This has the potential to make some useful things. Hell people have made a working gun with it. Granted, I'd prefer less guns, but it's a good example that a 3D Printer can make fairly complex objects that do work.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:35 PM

8. 3D printed moon building designs revealed

Architects Fosters and Partners have revealed designs for a building on the Moon that could be constructed from material already on its surface.

An inflatable structure would be transported from Earth, then covered with a shell built by 3D printers.

The printers, operated by robots, would use soil from the Moon, known as regolith, to build the layered cover.

The proposed site for the building is the southern pole of the Moon.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21293258

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:53 PM

4. CSI: NY had a show about a 3D gun.

It was very interesting.

It showed what could happen if somebody who didn't understand the process got a hold of it to use for profit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ananda (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:58 PM

6. Big Bang theory had a show about creating little Koothrappali dolls.

 

I guess TV is catching on to this.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:37 PM

9. Big Bang Theory.

 

Love that show, Jim Parsons is great.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:33 PM

7. Will recycling metals and plastics

become really viable now as the additive material for this tecnology?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:39 PM

11. Cuba and other embargoed countries

could 3D print themselves out of a problem economy. They could make spare parts to keep what they already have in good repair until they got new 3D manufactured goods out on their local markets.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JimDandy (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:41 PM

13. Now that is an interesting idea. Guess we have to make sure they don't get printers?

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:59 PM

16. All politics aside, I'm not for limiting technologies

Last edited Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:25 AM - Edit history (1)

that could benefit starving people in struggling economies. The 3D printers seem to be readily available to the average person, so I don't see how their spread could be stopped anyway.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JimDandy (Reply #16)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 02:09 PM

18. As they get more capable, they will be harder to limit

The ultimate goal, of course, being the 3D printed 3D printer...

http://www.reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bosonic (Reply #18)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:27 AM

28. Exactly. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:36 PM

23. No, we shouldn't want to empower the people of Cuba and other embargoed countries, should we?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to morningfog (Reply #23)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:28 PM

25. I'm just saying as a matter of policy this is the obvious path.

 

Or if you allow it you may as well lift the embargo.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:48 PM

14. First thing I thought of was all those night before things your children need for school..

It would be amazing to threed up a historical building model or a volcano project
or even a cell phone case for the kids if the price finally gets right for one of these machines.


Tikki

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 02:06 PM

17. I want to be owner of the world-wide data bank of spare parts

and part specifications that can potentially be manufactured by 3D printers on demand.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:47 PM

20. I suspect this is just a half step/introductory phase along the path to nano-molecular factories

in the medium term.

Ideas and who has the rights to them will be the true currency along with energy if it is still an effectively limited resource at the time.

Contraband would be a largely silly concept, reserved for truly destructive components. Most everything else would have to be tempered by fostering an environment that makes some things less desirable and mostly acceptance of a high level of individual sovereignty. Decentralizing production and democratization of access dictates such.

It also makes our concept of an economy and employment pretty worthless. Picture humanity as Tarzan swinging through the jungle as on our path to developmental growth. We must grab new vines and let go of old ones to progress, new opportunity comes but it cannot function under the existing paradigm.

We will have to unlearn much and adapt to move along and holding on to what we have will result in falling far to the ground below. The next vine is coming, we must grab it and let go of the one that carried us from the last one.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:37 AM

30. Wow, great post.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:58 AM

31. Yes, a good post. Those who embrace change

and who allow themselves to shed old realities will find ample opportunity but most will cling to the old ways even when those ways become dysfunctional.
Even very bright people struggle to adjust to cognitive dissonance.
Some of us will unlearn, adapt and re-learn and will flourish but most, I fear, will fall to the "ground below", as you put it.
If decentralization of power and productivity is the real result of 3-D printing we will all be lucky, even those who will struggle to adapt, because our current system is cutting the vines of progress before we are close enough to reach them.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:03 PM

26. I wonder if a 3D printer can be made with a 3D printer. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #26)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:23 AM

27. The replicators are coming. Ahhhhhh.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dkf (Original post)

Reply to this thread