3D Printing Not Just For Prototyping Anymore: Instant Manufacturing

from the where's-the-Napster-for-things dept

3D printing isn’t new. We’ve written about it plenty of times before. However, here’s a good article about how the technology is evolving. While still mostly known for use in rapid prototyping, it’s now finding a bigger home in “instant manufacturing” – being able to build complex parts on the spot. It’s now being used for bone replacement parts, hearing aid casings, and jet engine parts. While the article admits it’s still a very long ways away from home use, they do mention some of the possibilities – from the level of having a kid “download” the plan for the latest action figure he wants to the “home mechanic” scenario where you can diagnose what’s wrong with your car, and print out the parts you need to fix it. Of course, I’m still waiting to see how companies will deal with a “Napster for tangible goods”. When you can define tangible goods in a digital format, it will have a huge impact on the economics of such goods.

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Comments on “3D Printing Not Just For Prototyping Anymore: Instant Manufacturing”

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dorpus says:

Outsourcing anachronism?

Why go through the elaborate trouble of building things in other countries and shipping them here, if they can just be printed here?

There are some manufacturing industries (styrofoam, refrigerators, light bulbs) that have been highly resistant to outsourcing, because shipping products that are 90% air is expensive.

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