A 'special report' from the Economist on how 3D printing will evolve our future - worth the read. A couple of points to I want to highlight:
1. "A number of remarkable technologies are converging: clever software..." Exactly. First on the list for good reason. Why is clever software (such as Symvol and other products) required? Because the underlying technology of most software available today has been bent and tweaked to make it 'look' great for visualization, not for manufacturing. There are expense solutions available to try and facilitate a smoother handshake between software and 3D printers, but this process is not without flaws, and even at its best, adds time and money to the cost of the manufacturing.
Let's stop bending tools that were never made for 3D printing/manufacturing and instead invent new tools that can TRULY and accurately represent reality in a computer (borrowing some words from Turlif, our local evangelist/CTO). This is such an important piece of the 3D printing future, it deserves to be stressed. And this what we are hard at work doing in Uformia. Our current products begin to hint at the possibilities, and our future products (the first being Symvol Pro, due out later this year) will really demonstrate the power. Case in point, can you design and print an object as simple as a toy marble? How about a venetian vase? There are printers that can print multiple materials for objects such as these, but so far no commercial software can take advantage of this feature......... yet.
2. Localizing manufacturing. This is an exciting notion. At least for some manufacturing, the driving force will no longer be the sheer quantity of cheap labor, but rather the complete opposite! The driving force will be were the skilled labor resides, the designers, engineers, technicians, etc. who can create and operate this new 'factory'.
Quote: "The Boston Consulting Group reckons that in areas such as transport, computers, fabricated metals and machinery, 10-30% of the goods that America now imports from China could be made at home by 2020, boosting American output by $20 billion-55 billion a year."
You can be certain that Uformia will continue to do its part in making sure the tools are available for such a change to take place.