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What Does the Future Hold for 3D Printing?

Photo Credit-Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – Australia


October, 2018

What, realistically, does the future hold for 3D printing?

While some innovations have a minor impact across culture, and others have a major impact within a segment of culture, few have a major impact across culture. Some innovations do not change the product, but the way the product is made. For example, the industrial revolution did not change the product as much as it did the product manufacturing process. Things which, beforehand, had been made individually by individuals or a small team of people were now made in factories. In England, the textile industry was one of the first industries that was dramatically changed. The ability to have steam powered machines spin the cotton into thread, instead of it being done by hand, was dramatic. It increased worker output by a factor of 500. (Wikipedia)

This same revolution occurred in a number of industries during the industrial revolution, including the iron making industry and the invention of machine tools. These innovations made dramatic improvements within their industries but the cultural impact was indirect, not direct.

3D printing technology could be the first to have such a dramatic impact both within segments of culture and throughout the culture. The sheer number of areas that are being impacted virtually guarantees this. From the medical field to the automobiles we drive to the houses we live in to the aircraft we fly to the electronics we use and so many more, the impact will be significant.

And, like many changes, especially technological changes, the impact will be most felt – and embraced – by today’s children. Think of it, the younger generation has never lived in a time frame which did not have home computers, smartphones and flat screen TV’s.

And young people are almost always the ones who think “outside the box” and see connections and methods that the established paradigm cannot see or think is impossible. Which makes this quote so relevant:

“With 3D printing, we can actually create structures that are more intricate than any other manufacturing technology — or, in fact, are impossible to build in any other way.”
— Lisa Harouni

Because 3D printing covers such a wide range of industries and technologies, we would love to get your input on what you see happening in the future with 3D printing.

For example, what do you see happening in specific areas of 3D printing over the next 5 and 10 years?

Look forward to hearing and reading your comments!


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