The True Impact of 3D Technology13 May 2013
3D Printing is a technology that is still in its Hacker Garage/Basement Phase (A term given in tech when the best of something is still being made by the amateurs) and is still far away from becoming mainstream. However, when the technology does come to fruition, it will have tons to offer
The science behind a 3D printer is simple. You make a design on a computer of anything whether it’s a gun or a toy and the software you use determines the different layers needed to design and build something. The printer itself is just a movable extruder (think hot glue gun shoved inside a home printer) but instead of printing something line-by-line on a piece of paper, it prints plastic or any other material line-by-line on a flat surface, which then moves back into position for you to put another layer over it. This process continues again and again until every layer is put one on top of another and you end up with a 3-dimensional representation of what was originally on the computer screen
Imagine a world where instead of going out to the auto parts vendor to look for a part, you instead print one out yourself. Your little kid may want the latest Iron Man toy but you won’t buy it for him so he goes online to a 3D. He prints it out himself, kung fu grip and all.
Of course, the real impact of this technology might have a much more global reach. 3D printing could make it possible for the US to better compete with China. US companies outsourcing their manufacturing to China may not die out completely. But in the future the 3D technology might allow US companies to produce their products quicker and cheaper without the help of China. As it stands, it still costs less to work with China. So, while pundits at home argue about the dangers of online blueprints and guns, the manufacturing industry crosses its fingers and hopes for the best.