On January 29, 2013 in Mountain View at Microsoft Silicon Valley, SVForum hosted “3D Printing and Scanning SIG Event: Investment Trends & Printer Marketing and Technology” Speakers included Brook Drumm of Printrbot, Geoffrey Doyle of GrowShapes, Timothy Lipton of ReAllocate.org and Rich Stump of Fathom. They discussed the most disruptive technology since the Internet.
“In the same way the printing press democratized information and the internet democratized communication, 3D printing will demassify and democratize manufacturing – “The Third Revolution.”
3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing, is a new way to design, manufacture, distribute and finance products. A standard digital file (.stl) of an object is created on Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software or a 3D scanner, and is sent to a dedicated printer which builds the object layer-upon-layer in a plastic, metal or ceramic material.
Large manufacturers use it for rapid-prototyping for high-value low-run production. Smaller businesses are adopting it as costs come down. A desktop machine costs for less than $10,000 compared to more than $100,000 five years ago. The home printer market is growing as hobbyists embrace open sourced technology which originated from the “RepRap” project (Self-Replicating Manufacturing Machine).
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