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Everything on Demand (The democratization of 3D Printing)

Posted 6 January 2015 10:00 AM by John Rich/Jerry Hudson - Moxie Future Experiences

Although there’s a lot of debate about the consumer adoption of 3D printers, there is no doubt that 3D printing will change commerce and society. Previously 3D printing has been slow and costly, but with new advancements, the speed and capabilities will soon approach current mass manufacturing techniques. Things that were almost impossible to create before can now be imagined and printed. Today at CES, we witnessed a vast array of printers with prices ranging from $200 to $19,000, with print areas from half a square foot to almost a square meter. 

These printers could print the standard plastics, as well as materials containing wood, bamboo, copper, kevlar and carbon fiber. The printing techniques ranged from the simpler and lower cost (and resolution) additive method to stereolithography using lasers or UV light. Some of the brands mentioned that because of the low cost of entry, individuals (families) and schools can now easily afford this technology, setting up a generational explosion of interest in STEM and more specifically, creating a new era of creative innovation, where ideas won’t be limited by conventional manufacturing techniques.

Spider Dress: 3D printing, robotics and bio-signals create a dress that responds to your mood.

Three of the coolest printers we saw today were the New Matter Mod-t, the Autodesk Ember and the 3DP Unlimited 3DP1000.

The New Matter printer was available on IndieGoGo for $199. It has a small print area but is a great looking, elegant entry-level printer capable of amazing prints.

The Autodesk Ember is a level above the Mod-t, utilizing an open source platform. It uses a digital light method to print high-resolution objects at faster speeds than comparable resin-based machines.

3DP Unlimited 3DP1000

When you couple the distributed manufacturing nature of 3D printing along with the evolution of semi and fully autonomous vehicles and smart infrastructure, we are very close to completing the everything on demand creation and delivery loop.

Tomorrow we will be focusing on Augmented and Virtual Reality and the new screens — TV tablets and phones.


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