With the advent of 3D printers upon us. What do you think will be the impact of this technology on our everyday lives?

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Jim Weda Profile
Jim Weda answered

If they can make the technology faster I think it will have a huge impact. As of right now its too slow and I think most people do not have the patience to wait for what they would like to make with maybe the exception of a single small part. The other side is that you would need to have a "blueprint" of the object you're attempting to make and if you can't find it will have to create it. Now days you should be able to find just about any part you'd want to make so the speed I believe is the bottle neck at this time. I'm sure it will get faster in time but I don't see that happening as soon as one would hope for.

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Dan Banks
Dan Banks commented
I think you're right. At the moment the process it just too slow, to really make an impact. Once that's been sorted though, it could mean the death of the manufacturing industry!
Donald Reid
Donald Reid commented
If something need to be replaced and no one can find a replacement, then this printer will be worth its weight in gold...
that is if the design software is easy to use and understand.
Jon Moody Profile
Jon Moody answered

In their near future the impact will be minor for individual home use. The problem is that the per item cost to produce something off the shelf is significantly higher with a 3d printer versus its mass produced counterpart. The only time it pays off is when you want something that doesn't exist anywhere else, a custom item. Of course this requires a reasonably decent ability to create the model (ie, blueprint) to send to the printer. It requires a fairly high technical level. Materials cost will need to come way down before it will see widespread home use beyond garage tinkerers.

Where 3d printing will have the largest impact is for smaller to medium development business, such as you see on Kickstarter. For sort runs, 3d printing is actually cheaper since you don't need to create the plates, molds, ect. Required for mass production. This will allow smaller business to produce quantities of their products to match their smaller audience and demand without the huge upfront cost.

Where 3d printing is mostly lacking right now is types of materials. While recent developments have allowed some ceramics, glass, metals, and rubber, there are still thousands of materials that exist that can only be used with traditional methods of production. This is where 3d printing still has a long way to go before it can begin replacing mass production methods.

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Yo Kass
Yo Kass commented
Sounds super exciting though. I'm sure the technology will develop really quickly if someone can see a profit at the end of it. Look how rapidly the internet expanded!

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