A lot has been said about 3D printing. But up until now, there hasn’t been an affordable way to mass manufacture products. Enter Shapeways. If you haven’t heard of them yet, Shapeways is one of the world’s first full service 3D-printing factories – offering a service that is fully automated, incredibly simple, and on the verge of revolutionizing an industry.
All you product manufactures out there get ready to take note, because this one-stop 3D printing shop is putting the power back into the hands of the consumer – and making some really cool products while they do. Last year, President Obama said that 3D printing was the future of American manufacturing, and it’s companies like Shapeways that embody what he was talking about.
With printers now being sold for as low as $1200, 3D Printing is set to change the manufacturing industry drastically. Here are a few ways how:
More brands will begin to manufacture their own objects in-house. With the industry expanding rapidly, barriers to entry have decreased – meaning companies now have the ability to cut out the middleman and manufacture their own products for a fraction of the cost in-house. Which, as Nick Vivion noted at this year’s SXSW, is good news for startups, but not so much for out-sourced product manufacturers.
Price competition will cause costs to fall and quality to suffer. If you thought we were in a price war now, just wait until 3D printing hits the masses. 3D printing is a cheap alternative to other forms of manufacturing – which means more and more people will choose to produce something themselves as opposed to buying and/or ordering it. This will lead to market saturation, which will force un-savvy companies to slash prices to cut costs and maximize revenue.
More people will begin to focus on establishing a CAD background. Just as HTML created a boom in programing degrees, 3D printing will do the same for industrial design. AutoCAD will become the new Photoshop, and as the talent pool grows, so will the quality of products. Making way for jobs that do not exist right now.
By 2015 the industry is expected to swell from $1.7 to $3.7 billion – ushering in a new era in manufacturing for almost every market. From space exploration, to education, we are in the early stages of a manufacturing revolution–and just like with the tech boom–if you do not adapt, you will be left behind.