3D printers are here, but their potential effect on society isn’t fully understood.
What we need to understand with 3D printers is we’re just starting. The concept of manufacturing isn’t new, but the fact that we can do it in our houses with 3D printers is amazing. That’s the beauty of technology. Anything that can be democratized will be. Look at music production. It went from recording and producing in professional studios to our laptops. Look at media publishers. Nowadays, anyone that has something to say can open up a website overnight and get people to see it through different digital marketing channels.
In addition, anyone can start teaching themselves coding through Google or YouTube and become an engineer. This is the evolution of technology. With 3D printers, everyone can be a type of manufacturer.
Having 3D printers in households everywhere will make everyone a manufacturer. Think about the impact that’ll have. For an individual to get something from a manufacturer, that individual is usually planning to start a business. Whether it’s prototyping or manufacturing a product line, individuals don’t go up to manufacturers casually. Even if individuals could go up to manufacturers casually, the amount of money will filter people out quickly. Just look at the costs to manufacture. Another downside is you can’t just make one product, you have to order a bunch to get something from a manufacturer.
Having a 3D printer lets any individual manufacture for a fraction of the cost. Another huge advantage is the speed. Big manufacturers can take weeks to finish. Individuals with a 3D printer can finish in a day. For users who are trying to manufacture something to get a prototype, 3D printers provide faster feedback thanks to the speed. People who are trying to invent or engineer something need to look into 3D printers. It provides better cost, speed, and faster feedback. It also provides customization a big manufacturer might not be able to handle.
Customization is a big strength of 3D printers. You can make a fashion item and make it your size and add some zippers to it. Another example of customization is creating a tool that isn’t on the market. Maybe you don’t have a screwdriver that doesn’t fit a screw perfectly. A 3D printer can make it so you can create one in a matter of hours. The power of customization also applies to industries. Let’s take a look at how.
The manufacturing industry isn’t the only industry that’ll change. Similar to software, it’s not just changing the computer industry, it’s changing everything. A big one is medical equipment. Students can print a life-size heart or brain to get a better idea of what human organs look like. Another example is building external prosthetics for specific patients. Other industries include automotive and real estate. There aren’t 3D printers big enough to print a single home, but you can print specific parts and assemble it. The same goes for real estate. You can print specific parts and put it together to eventually create a house. One industry you might not know 3D printers affected is the aerospace industry. Aerospace manufacturing requires intense testing. They have to endure polarizing temperatures in different environments while simultaneously remaining light. One hiccup results in a disaster. Having a 3D printer in the spaceship remedies those problems. Astronauts can also use a printer to make food. The taste is another story though.
The list of industries which will transform because of 3D printers will keep growing. All of the ways we listed 3D printers change society in a tangible way. An intangible way 3D printers will change society is through creativity.
Not only will 3D printers encourage more scientific work, it’ll bring on more creativity. With 3D printers gaining in popularity, hopefully, more entrepreneurs, designers, and artists enter the field. Society isn’t transformed through repetitive tasks. It’s transformed by people who are thinking differently. Something unique can’t be made by routine procedures. It requires a different mindset. Having more creative types in the field potentially brings more money in the field. They’ll think of ways in which they can create entertainment. Entrepreneurs will think of ways which can bring more value.
Not only does this make 3D printers more popular, it increases the chances of one of them making something beneficial to us all.
Overall, 3D printers will accelerate the exponential growth that is technology. 3D printers will give more people the chance to be entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers. It’ll transform industries and make them more efficient. The variety of tools we’ll be able to make increases with this machine. Everything from products to revenue will increase with 3D printers.
I look at 3D printers the same as the internet. The Internet created iconic companies and has made information accessible. It has turned regular people into celebrities just by talking in front of their camera. It connects people all over the world with a click of a button. It has transformed everything in our daily lives. It’s uncertain whether 3D printers can have the same type of impact, but if it goes mainstream, you can bet it’ll change our future.