The Next Industrial Revolution

by: Keegan P. period 5

It seems to me paradoxical that a small wooden contraption zip-tied together can create a custom part for me faster than a large corporation, but it can! Additive manufacturing has allowed private consumers to "print" anything that the mind desires. Additive manufacturing is a rapidly expanding, revolutionary industry/technology that will forever change the manufacturing industry.


There are, as far as I know two methods employed for additive manufacturing: SLS selective laser sintering and FDM fused deposition of material. The latter is more developed and wide spread so it will be me my focus.


FDM has been around since the 80's but due to the ancient technology available and little economic potential it was not developed (much like the electric cars!). However, recently it has experienced a surge in popularity among garage inventors, bio-medical engineers and large corporations even.


Its major use among these customers is customization. With (in some cases specialized) a 3-D printer you may create: prototypes of new products, specific models of products, scaffolding of organs to later be filled with the hosts cells, anything.


Unlike the potential, however, the current technology is quite flawed and limited. Size means size so if you had a printer occupying two cubic feet the most it could print may be 3 cubic inches.* And unless you have a printer with multiple nozzles you may only print in one material. The FDM process is incredibly time consuming so its applications are still limited to small commercial or private use or for products without large demand. * this is an imprecise assumption


But in the case of products with large demand mass production remains the primary device utilized. Mass production, a technology developed during the industrial revolution, increased productivity greatly. It is the process of producing production in large quantities, but now that the 3-d printer is becoming more popular, mass production may no longer be the cheapest or easiest. Ushering out an age of uniformity promoting creativity and engineering, for rather than being made 1,000s of miles away custom parts or devices may be printed at home even if the applicator has no experience. That is what will inspire people to be individual, that is the nature of the next industrial revolution. The distant factory will lose demand then their prices will drop and keep dropping until expenses keep it to a state of bankruptcy . This customization will heavily change the global market of manufacturing creating in the coming years a shift in the worlds wealth.


As said additive manufacturing is growing. 10 years ago it was a a hobby, rather expensive one at that, now it is still is but cheaper as little as $350, so it now serves a wider community. The horizons have been broadened reaching commercial scale printers. Now everyone can and has positive prospects in 3-D printing, whether with their own or with ordering online.


Stocks are a means of investing in a company. You give them money now in hopes of them growing to the point of making a profit, and they also help gauge a companies growth, as due to supply and demand a companies stocks increase as public demand does. you buy the share(s) and now you own however much of the company. then you can later sell the stocks at the current market price, if a company does well the value increases, but if it should decrease the it would lose value.


The growth is evident, and no where more so than in Wall Street. The stocks of 3-D printing companies has over the past years exponentially risen.As to chart the growth and growing need of these companies, some stocks have risen up to 50%. 3-D systems has increased by 82% since the beginning of the year.


It occurred to me to add a brief explanation of stocks (here it is). Stocks are a means of investing in a company. You give them money now in hopes of them growing to the point of making a profit, and they also help gauge a companies growth, as due to supply and demand a companies stocks increase as public demand does. You buy the share(s) and now you own however much of the company. then you can later sell the stocks at the current market price, if a company does well the value increases, but if it should decrease the it would lose value.


I personally recommend that if you are to start investing you do so in 3-D printing, or if by now you are interested in buying one (you almost surely are not as I am not a salesman unless I am going to be sponsored, but hey that wasn't a bad introduction was it?). Make has a comprehensive guide helping you decide your printer based on simplicity, precision, speed, and price. It is included at the bottom.


3-D printing is customization, it is creativity being brought to the masses, and it will be global. Its effects have yet to be determined but it will not be minor. The process of additive manufacturing, while in some cases simple is an incredibly complicated topic which I have but brushed. And it shall act as a major factor in the coming economical environment.

Bibliography

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