When it comes to technology, every company is trying to come up with the next big gadget that everyone will want. I believe that gadget has already been created and goes by the name “Additive manufacturing”, or as we all know it 3-D Printing. This technology was developed in order to make small manufacturing parts, mostly for use in prototypes for sizing.
It is rapidly evolving due to high demand from consumers. However, the price is still too steep for most to consider purchasing one, but in due time the price will become affordable.
The thought of owning one of these as an adult is exciting, but I am going to focus on a different group, children. This could be a product that encourages engineering and design at a young age. Just the thought of designing your own toys then having them created before your very eyes is an amazing thought. 3-D printing might be the thing that challenges video games for the top spot among activities, if it is marketed correctly.
3-D printing is a concept that should have manufacturing companies a little scared. One huge factor that comes into play with 3-D printing is the openness of the internet. Just think how easy it is to download a song illegally, now imagine doing the same thing with products. Yeah, you could potentially start creating your own products in your house. Need a spoon? Print one out. Need a cup? Just go print one out. Need a coaster for that drink? Use some paper you slob! The future has the potential to be that easy.
The idea of 3-D printing is something that is exciting for consumers. For manufacturers of products, it could be a different story. I predict that there could be another legal boondoggle like the one with Napster, Kazaa, and other companies.
Jake Szemanski is a Business Marketing and Management major from Penn State-Beaver Campus, which is located 40 minutes north of his hometown of Pittsburgh. He hopes to one day work in marketing or public relations for a major firm in the United States, preferably Lego.