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3D Manufacturing: New Weapon for the US Economy

Nearly every one of the US's 120 million households has its own multicolor 3DC3 printer with a C3 bath (a C3H6O finishing tank).

The President of the US officially announces a total end to consumer imports of plastic goods.

We are not buying iPhone 9 cases from Asia. Instead, Americans buy a one-time license of their favorite Starck design from the AppStore and customize it further, as needed.

Admittedly this vision for 2017 takes some leaps of optimism. Anybody familiar with 3D printing has hoped for a version of such a future. Yet in 2014 we are not thinking seriously enough of how 3D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, can bring such change to our economy — because it can! If we are not thinking of ways to bring about US manufacturing independence with the aid of additive manufacturing, we are not thinking big enough.

For the full story, see EBN’s sister site InformationWeek.

— Samir Shah is an architect, interior designer, furniture designer, ex-manufacturer of custom furniture, and a process and machine consultant to the woodworking industry.

20 comments on “3D Manufacturing: New Weapon for the US Economy

  1. _hm
    August 4, 2014

    At best I call this to be preposterous idea and tommyrot. Why do you need so many 3D printers?

     

     

  2. SP
    August 5, 2014

    3D printing to come in full swing will take few more years. 3D printing is a futuristic technology and bound to become the need. But stopping the import from other countries especially China is a different issue, not sure if US can ever stop it.

  3. Daniel
    August 6, 2014

    Samir, printing the necessary items at home with a 3D printer is a good option. It can bring down the cost too, but at the same time it can affect the employment and wages too. Many people are working in manufacturing sector and they are really depending up on such small scale works for their earning breads.

  4. Ariella
    August 6, 2014

    @Rich interesting. I can see it working in home improvement. You can print out handles, brackets, etc. 

  5. Daniel
    August 7, 2014

    “I can see it working in home improvement. You can print out handles, brackets, etc. “

    Ariella, I think it can print anything and everything.

  6. ahdand
    August 7, 2014

    Well that shows how well IT has improved. It will keep on improving and many fascinating things will be in visibility very soon

  7. Ariella
    August 7, 2014

    @Jacob it would have to be a pretty expensive machine to do that. The ones that cost under $1000 only print in plastic and usually things that are on the small side. The bigger machines that can print out larger and more complex items can cost 6 figures, so I doubt that those particular ones are for sale in Home Depot now. 

  8. Ariella
    August 7, 2014

    @nimantha I agree. I'm optimistic but still realistic about the fact that we're not altogether there yet. For ex. I followed up on the Home Depot printers to see just what they are capable of printing. The biggest printer the retailers sells (at least according to what I pick up on the Home Depot site) is this one http://www.homedepot.com/p/MakerBot-Replicator-Desktop-3D-Printer-5th-Generation-MP05825/205142845?N=5yc1vZc7mr One of the reviews note:

    “If you are looking for a cool toy, you may wish to buy it, but recognize that there are very few uses for it that are more than toys and trinkets. If you make a screwdriver, don't expect it to last through a whole project, and the same for other things. Also, I say “easier than some” and not simply easy for a reason. It still requires a lot of expertise to get it running properly. Be aware of what your getting, and research it before you buy.”

  9. Ariella
    August 7, 2014

    @nimantha I agree. I'm optimistic but still realistic about the fact that we're not altogether there yet. For ex. I followed up on the Home Depot printers to see just what they are capable of printing. The biggest printer the retailers sells (at least according to what I pick up on the Home Depot site) is this one http://www.homedepot.com/p/MakerBot-Replicator-Desktop-3D-Printer-5th-Generation-MP05825/205142845?N=5yc1vZc7mr One of the reviews note:

    “If you are looking for a cool toy, you may wish to buy it, but recognize that there are very few uses for it that are more than toys and trinkets. If you make a screwdriver, don't expect it to last through a whole project, and the same for other things. Also, I say “easier than some” and not simply easy for a reason. It still requires a lot of expertise to get it running properly. Be aware of what your getting, and research it before you buy.”

  10. Daniel
    August 8, 2014

    “it would have to be a pretty expensive machine to do that. The ones that cost under $1000 only print in plastic and usually things that are on the small side. The bigger machines that can print out larger and more complex items can cost 6 figures, so I doubt that those particular ones are for sale in Home Depot now. “

    Ariella, thanks for the clarification. I think the bigger one won't be cost effective for residential purposes.

  11. Ariella
    August 8, 2014

    @Jacob yes. It's rather like paper printing. Just about all of us own a printer that can print in both b/w and color now, but we still will hire professional printers for business cards, books, magazines, etc. 

  12. Daniel
    August 11, 2014

    “yes. It's rather like paper printing. Just about all of us own a printer that can print in both b/w and color now, but we still will hire professional printers for business cards, books, magazines, etc. “

    Ariella, thanks for the clarification.

  13. SunitaT
    August 13, 2014

    Almost one out of three households have this kind of a 3D printer then this could become the new manufacturing trend. For example, a company may be marketing and increasing business by investing in human resources. For example, if a company makes a product which has some add-ons, then the company can supply the materials to the common crowd and tell them to do-it-yourself, which will save the company the manufacturing money, as well as generate enough interest on 3D printing in the common crowd.

  14. SunitaT
    August 13, 2014

    If 3D printers were supplied with a brochure that guides users to make something (much like microwave ovens come with what-you-can-cook-with-this-microwave-oven) then that would be helpful because most of us don't know how to handle a 3D printer and what to make out of it. 

  15. Eldredge
    August 28, 2014

     I think it can print anything and everything.

     


    @ Jacob – yes and no – it depends on your requirements for the item in question.

  16. Eldredge
    August 28, 2014

    @Rich – you make a goood point – one of the benefits of 3D printing is that one can evaluate design improvements more quickly and easily than with previous technologies.

  17. ahdand
    August 29, 2014

    @Eldridge: Indeed, it will surely help for better desinnging

  18. ahdand
    August 29, 2014

    @eldridge: Very true, it all depends on what sort of a volume you want and on what mode you want

  19. Daniel
    September 1, 2014

    “yes and no – it depends on your requirements for the item in question.”

    Eldredge, yes based on demand or request only it get print.

  20. ChristopherJames
    September 18, 2018

    The hype that everyone has on 3D printing is overrated in my opinion. How far can its industry truly go looking at the quality of its print results? Even if it can really print things easily, are they truly dependable in terms of quality? It would also probably get too expensive to print large things. The target audience would also be relatively small since the printer can only print out a certain material and not others that consumers might want.

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