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3D Printing Shapes Factory of the Future
10/25/2012

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg used a 3D-printed pair of scissors for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Shapeways factory. (Source: Shapeways)
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg used a 3D-printed pair of scissors
for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Shapeways factory.
(Source: Shapeways)

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TJ McDermott
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Re: The next steps
TJ McDermott   10/25/2012 12:25:32 PM
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You'll go to the store (or supermarket) to print larger things, but print the smaller things at home.

We're well on our way to Star Trek replicators.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: The next steps
Beth Stackpole   10/25/2012 11:46:03 AM
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Good point, TJ. As you can see at the end of the post, the retail type movement (a la the Apple storefront concept) is just starting to happen with 3D printing as well. I remember when Apple announced they were going to put stores in malls. As a long-time journalist covering information technology, I thought they were crazy. Who's going to buy a PC or printer in a mall. Well, who's laughing now. I think with the right type of company, the right type of technology (that goes without saying) and the right type of marketing muscle, the retail exposure to 3D print technology might be an important catalyst to help it take off.

TJ McDermott
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The next steps
TJ McDermott   10/25/2012 10:34:04 AM
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"Consumer facing" was a good turn of phrase.  The future though, may not be a factory.  For it to take off, 3D fabrication will likely move into commerical spaces rather than industrial.

First steps would be into strip malls, eventually to be as ubiquitous as mobile phone provider stores.

After that, the goal would be to have stand-alone self-serve kiosks in malls and supermarkets (maybe even 7-11s?).

naperlou
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Industry
naperlou   10/25/2012 10:20:56 AM
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Beth, while this is interesting, it would be more interesting to see what is being done by people investing in this technology to make real products.  I see a lot of these "community" projects announced with much fanfare.  On the other hand, not much comes out of it that will drive the economy.  In the past there was lots of talk about hackerspaces or makerspaces driving innovation in the mechanical engineering area.  They still exist, but are havens for people to learn, they don't really drive new business.  So, it will be interesting to see what comes out of this new effort. 

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