3D Printing: The end of Corporatism?

trendie

Legendary member
6,583 1,167
there was a thread about 3D printing just now, and it got me thinking....

There was a sci-fi short story ages ago by Arthur C Clarke about a devive that could replicate anything you put into its analyser.
It could replicate the finest foods, drinks, and of course, electronics, etc.

The story really pointed out that the immense expenditure building the first replicator would be wiped out as the first thing the replicator would build would be another replicator!

Stories aside, does this new field of industry mean that we could be seeing a new generation of inventors-in-sheds creating micro-industries etc.
A generation who can control the whole manufacturing process from their sheds?
A low cost to market for new products?

Obviously, at the moment its just single material designs,(ie, plastics, etc), but even if you have multi-materials, eg, plastic, glass, rubber, etc, its just an assembly issue.

Typical of the USA, one of the first things they build with it is a chuffing gun!

EDIT: could a passing mod please change title from £D to 3D please!

EDIT2: What would you build with one of these?
Would you buy anything from a local 3D printer?
What would you be wary of buying if it was made in a 3D printer?
 

BobbyBB

Active member
176 8
The genie is out of the bottle with that gun. The blueprints are probably all over the web by now.

We're looking at a dangerous future in some respects. And what happens when the Robots come, what happens when somebody you don't like programs a killer robot to come looking for you...
 

Triggerfish

Active member
229 14
All inventions will lead to more suffering and NOT advancement of mankind!.....we're truly deluded beings!
 

timsk

Legendary member
7,477 2,234
What would you build with one of these?
Would you buy anything from a local 3D printer?
What would you be wary of buying if it was made in a 3D printer?
Hi trendie,
I looked into the world of 3D printing a year or so ago for a project (not trading related, obviously!) which never got off the ground. However, I did get in contact with my local Uni that has one of these machines and, under certain circumstances, allows members of the public to use it.

My understanding is that it's a tool to produce prototypes - rather than a production tool in its own right. Don't make the leap from 2D conventional offset litho printing to 3D printing - as it's altogether a different kettle of fish. A 3D printer can only 'print' a cetain type of plastic - and most products that are only made of plastic are produced by injection moulding machines.

To conclude, it's a very useful design tool to give you a good idea what your final product will look like and allow you to make changes ahead of production. As a tool to make things in their own right, I suspect its use is limited. I may be wrong about all this - and certainly out of date - but that's what I remember from my dealings with this department at Exeter Uni: CALM
Tim.
 

trendie

Legendary member
6,583 1,167
good point about the prototyping aspect, timsk.

I dont know if the analogy fits, but the difference between prototype and production is quality, ie, resolution.

If the resolution of pictures is analogous, then its the "dots per inch" or "pixels".

I suspect that simple, arty, products could become production quality fairly quickly.
If I am not mistaken, doesn't the US military use 3D printer type technology to manufacture engine (motor vehicles) parts on the front-line?
 

pboyles

Legendary member
8,072 1,302
It depends on cost and quality at the end of the day. We all have the ability to make our own clothes but very few do because we can buy them cheaply and they are better quality. As for the printed gun it's a one shot piece of crap and isn't the only home made gun in the world. The only issue is the lack of detectability due to the mostly plastic construction, which again isn't unique.
 

timsk

Legendary member
7,477 2,234
I dont know if the analogy fits, but the difference between prototype and production is quality, ie, resolution.

If the resolution of pictures is analogous, then its the "dots per inch" or "pixels".
Yes, that's true i think, but the key point is that you can produce a 3D model of something in plastic that may be (and often as not is) manufactured using different materials. Using the gun example, I doubt that arms manufactures are suddenly going to abandon using traditional materials like wood and metal in favour of plastic. Equally, I very much doubt that the people that made the gun would use the 3D printing machine to manufacture it - even if there was a market for the product.

When I was at Exeter, I met a student who created a case for the RaspberryPi. He showed me the 3D printed prototype and the finished production article which was produced by injection moulding and had a much better finish. As an aside, when I first met him, he hadn't even finished his Uni course - or manufactured a single case - yet managed to pre-sell £20k worth of product! A seriously clever young man!
Tim.
 
 
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