If 3D printing becomes widespread, "design" will be the new "manufacturing"
Posted by David Brooks | Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Like many people, I'm fascinated by 3-D printing - or, more accurately, "additive manufacturing," which includes different technologies that have the same "create a unique solid object using information from a computer file, cheaply and with a relatively small machine" impact. (I wrote about local 3D companies about a year ago: here it is.)
It's quite possible that additive manufacturing will do to manufacturing what personal computers did to computing - that is, make it so widespread and democratic that the entire industry changes, as do many industries that use it. Since almost everything "uses" manufacturing, so to speak, a sea change in manufacturing would be sweeping, indeed.
Slate.com has an interview today with Chris Anderson of Wired.com, in which he pushes this idea. He thinks additive manufacturing is about where PCs were in the early 1980s, with the big changes yet to come. It's a good read, check it out. I particularly like this conclusion:
Anderson’s central message: Design is the future. If you want to “make things” in tomorrow’s economy, don’t aim for working on the factory floor. Instead, you should learn to draw, write code, and use CAD software. More fundamentally, you should learn to invent, to think of new ways to refine old things.