3D Printing is a Game Changer: Feature Published by The Atlantic
American iconic magazine The Atlantic invited Hugh Evans, vice president at T. Rowe Price Associates to publish an article about a technology or trend changing the markets. His topic: 3D Printing is a Game Changer.
From my vantage point, 3D printing is right up there as one of the most exciting innovations I’ve seen in the 20 years I’ve been around here. I think it’s going to change the way goods are manufactured across many industries.
Evans starts with the back story on 3D printing, how the technology evolved from producing wax-like prototypes to durable goods.
The revolution took place when companies like 3D Systems started designing radically new materials. They came up with nanocomposites, different blends of plastics, and different blends of powdered metals. They were then able to create a part that, if you held it in your hand, you’d think it was steel. You can throw it down on the ground against cement, and it looks and acts just like steel.
Later Evans mentions various industries that are embracing 3D printing.
These new materials allow this 3D printing to be adopted by aerospace, automotive. Jaguar is using the technology for rapid product development. So is the Bell Helicopter division of Textron.
One company I’m excited about is using 3D printing to make prostheses. It’s a venture-backed company in San Francisco called Bespoke Innovations. There are a large number of amputees in America and around the world–I believe something like two million people have some sort of prosthetic limb or device.
Finally, Evans talks about falling 3D printer prices, enabling consumer adoption.
Six years ago the cheapest machine out there was $30,000, but most were $100,000. Today you can get a capable 3D printer for around $1,299, which launched at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.
That’s why 3D printing is so interesting. It’s not just tied up in the engineering world anymore. It’s impacting a large number of industries, and becoming more relevant to consumers. I’m seeing that even high schools now have 3D printers. I just ran into a high school teacher the other day who teaches software classes, and he was telling me, “Oh, I just bought my first 3D printer.”
It’s exciting to see this technology begin to reach its full potential. A few years ago it was a little ahead of its time, but not anymore. It’s here today.
Read the full article at The Atlantic.
Deck of cards photo by aftab used under Creative Commons license.