Blogger John Geraci’s recent post shows his newfound understanding of the future of 3D printing: he gets it. John’s blog talks about “innovation & entrepreneurship in New York City and beyond”, and this led him, we suspect, to Brooklyn-based MakerBot, the well-known manufacturers of the Thing-O-Matic personal 3D printer and previous models. From there he wrote a post on MakerBot’s disruptiveness, and then had a revelation of the implications of widespread 3D printing:
So imagine not even having to know how to design something in order to manufacture it. Imagine not ever needing to get something in the mail from UPS. Imagine stores not needing to actually manufacture things at all – they just send a blueprint, and the end user just pops that blueprint into their printer and bing, there’s the product. (I guess “store” is the wrong word in that case – as would be “manufacturer” – so what do call the designer/seller of things then? The designer? The company? The brand?).
We believe that sort of thing will ultimately happen, although not for some years. Why? It’s starting already with more than just MakerBot: many other companies are starting up in the space with room for all to succeed. John also asks some provocative questions that we’ve been wondering about, too:
- What happens to manufacturing in this case?
- What happens to shipping and delivery?
- What happens to stores and companies?
- What happens to brands?
- What happens to the price of goods?
We would add a few more questions:
- What happens to CO2 when shipping decreases?
- What happens when you can personalize your purchases/builds? (size, color, texture, name, anything!)
- What happens when your possessions (or even you yourself) are scanned and replicated?
- What happens when weapons are easily fabricated anywhere, anytime from a mere digital model?
- What happens when food is 3D printed?
We could go on, but you get the idea: Change. Lots of it. Coming your way.