From Hermit Crab Shells To Moon Bases: 19 Amazing Things You Can Do With 3D Printing

The future of manufacturing?

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XKCD On Digital Printing

credit: xkcd

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The Economist, in a special report last week, calls digital manufacturing a Third Industrial Revolution.

The first began in Britain in the late 18th century with the mechanisation of the textile industry. In the following decades the use of machines to make things, instead of crafting them by hand, spread around the world. The second industrial revolution began in America in the early 20th century with the assembly line, which ushered in the era of mass production. As manufacturing goes digital, a third great change is now gathering pace. It will allow things to be made economically in much smaller numbers, more flexibly and with a much lower input of labour, thanks to new materials, completely new processes such as 3D printing, easy-to-use robots and new collaborative manufacturing services available online.

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