This is the topic of Sarah Westfall’s interview with Craig Walker, the “guru of 3D printing” on WebTalkRadio.net: Business Game Changers.
Before that interview, however, you need to tolerate Westfall’s interview with Michael Jay Moon, an entrepreneur and self-styled Silicon Valley thought leader. He gives his reaction to Newsweek’s article, “What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women.” What is his contribution to the discussion? “Hardware is hard and why would women want to do anything hard?”
Thanks Michael. Moving on.
Craig Walker’s enthusiastic representation of “all things 3D printing” turns Michael’s point on its head. Since very few people know anything about 3D printing AND since 3D printing will likely revolutionize US creativity and productivity, this is a field where women would be very smart to enter now and ride the wave to tremendous opportunity.
Review some of the main points at Craig Walker’s websites:
Walker says we are “entering a personal manufacturing age” where the average individual can purchase 3D printers for under $2,000 or access top tier equipment at Staples and prototype many products and product ideas. Rapid prototyping will have a world-changing impact on global manufacturing.
Walker marketed some web sites, including 3Dhubs.com, which is an aggregation of 3D printers available in the neighborhood. Individuals can send a design to a 3DHub and turnaround a prototype in a few days. However prototyping of this type might be subject to corporate theft given that you never know who is owning/managing the hub.
A safer strategy might be to prototype at a 3D printer at Staples. The office supply retail outlet envisions wide-ranging 3D printing applications in healthcare, education, art, manufacturing, engineering, consumer products, and architecture.
Some examples discussed include the “most popular 3D printed item” – fancy chocolates. Food industry applications promise to be as ubiquitous as the microwave.
The “Foodini” is an automated meal-assembly machine that creates homemade meals faster and more efficiently than human hands— the first product by Natural Machines, Lynette Kucsma’s company. Foodini will go on sale in the mid-2015.
Medical applications include prosthetic limbs and, potentially, skin and organs. Engineering applications include prototyping and fabrication of airplane and vehicle parts.
Made in Space (http://www.madeinspace.us/) is the first 3D printer to fabricate tools needed in space.
There are examples of companies and agencies using 3D printing to make modular homes in Norway and China; disaster relief temporary domes; homeless tent/domes or restrooms.
Maximatic produced a spill-proof coffee cup for cars.
There may be a concern about 3D printing eliminating traditional jobs from injection molding, manufacturing, and design firms. Will more jobs be added through creativity than are eliminated through obsolescence? This is a perennial question in technology.
There is a movement to add 3D printer in every school: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/251439/3D_printers_in_schools.pdf
Educational applications include curricula to enhance pupils’ 3D visualization skills through the use of 3D production of complex shapes, formula, and spatial representation. Or maybe just let kids use 3D printers to become fascinated, again, with technology.
Finally, a good place to learn more about 3D printing and products/services was in Burbank, CA this past January 2015 at the 3D Printer World Expo (http://www.3dprinterworld.com/)