3D printing.

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Debaser82, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. I read in the future they will be able to print houses...:D

    But on a smaller scale.... This technology could reverse the outsourcing of production...

    I know very little of the matter, only what I read in main stream media, so if you are in the know about it please contribute...

    And what stocks will do wel from it...:D
  2. They already do this. But it is expensive to set up the manufacturing base using this technology.
  3. Ok, wha crazy logic would validate that?

    It may destroy the outsourcing side, but it won't reverse it. If I print my own phone at home, I wont buy one from a factory anywhere, so "1 outsouced worker" is replaced with "0 workers".

    I fail to see any sensible reverse happening if that works decently. if anything it will erode a lot more jobs which puts a lot more people unti the "not needed" category.
  4. It won't necessarily affect outsourcing. Since you can outsource the design of that phone you're printing... but it will certainly kill manufacturing as we know it today.
  5. wartrace


    I recently saw them use this technology on an episode of "This old house" (one of the three television shows I watch):D

    It was amazing albeit somewhat slow. They could "build up" a 3-d model of a drawing out of plastic resins and of course with the correct colors.

    The days of an architect creating a paper model of a project are over. Of course this is also useful for creating mock ups of anything.

    They aren't going to be able to produce "products" with this technology- it is just plastic resin. This is only going to be useful in the design phase of things (at least for the time being).
  6. Eight


    Wikipedia has a good article on "rapid prototyping" that will get anybody up to tutorial level knowledge on the subject.
  7. So far, 3-D printers have only found application in rapid production of 1 or 2 units. Very good for prototyping, terrible for high-volume manufacturing. The new killer app is low-volume production by the common man at home.

    Say goodbye to shit like: Sears wants to charge you $40 for a replacement cover plate for your vacuum cleaner's carpet attachment. Or Autozone wanting to gouge you for $15 on a replacement housing for a headlight or something. Or Pretentious Curtain Rods Inc. charges big bucks for their fancy looking end caps. Basically any kind of business making high margins on replacement parts or custom parts where the part is nothing more than specially shaped plastic.

    Don't forget that plastic "master copies" can be used to make molds for other materials. (Yes, even for the determined common man at home.) Furthermore, 3-D printers will eventually be printing more than just plastic as the technology matures. There are bakeries and common folk already printing in things like frosting and chocolate. Low melting point metal alloys or glass or wood-like wood putties are conceivable in the future.

    Companies that adapt will do so by having superior precision or quality. Or they may simply sell you a design instead of the actual object. The smart ones will make it parametric so you can customize the heck of the thing (whatever you're buying). Customization may become the new status symbol for a little while.

    So how to position yourself to make money from all of this?

    There are many start-ups that are selling 3-D printer kits or fully assembled. None are public companies you can buy stock in. They won't go public until most of the growth story is over anyway. Many other will go out of business. Think personal computers industry in the 1970's-1980's. I guess some raw materials and basic electronics components manufacturers may see a boost. And the parametric design sellers. But very little specifically namely companies come to mind as opportunities on the long side.

    For going short, there will be plenty of "old guard" businesses that will take lumps or die out along the way. It's hard to predict which ones will adapt to the changing environment and which ones will do a "Kodak". On top of that slow (2-5 years) declines are hard to position for.
  8. mostlysilent - Great points.

    Do you have some names/links to companies that you consider leaders in 3D printing.

    How expensive is this technology right now for the home?
  9. CET


    One company in this area is 3D Systems Corp., symbol DDD. If I recall correctly from an interview with the CEO the entry level printer is $1,300 and the high-end is $100K. You can look up on Yahoo or elsewhere their competitors.
  10. Here's an open-source one, they say you can get the designs for free and build it yourself:

    Then, the design is such that one of the machines can make all the parts for another one -- it can replicate itself, so you can make one for you friend.

    Here's more on a video from the site:
    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/5202148" width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>

    Wow, I wish they'd had something like this when I was a kid, would have been a cool hobby.
    #10     Mar 2, 2012