Steve Puma posts his thoughts on the future of 3D Printing, and envisions a Star Trek-ish direction. We agree, since the predicted widespread personal manufacturing technology of five years from now will become a fertile field for entrepreneurs to develop all manner of solutions and services. As Steve points out there are energy implications as well:
But what if the customer could simply “print-out” the product at home, in one piece, instead of assembling it? If this is combined with dematerialization in the design of the product, then it is easy to see how these efficiencies will begin to build upon each other to create an exponential reduction in the energy and materials used, and wastes generated, over traditional manufacturing and transportation processes.