The Irish Times, 24 September 2012: “3D printers to manufacture a revolution”. (This is a condensed version of a longer piece - read full piece here)
THE THREE trends toward cheaper 3D printing, consumer co-creation, and digital distribution should be understood as part of a great adjustment.
The current stage of 3D printing is analogous to the early 1990s when the music industry failed to foresee the disruptive impact that ongoing improvements in audio compression and increasing internet connectivity would have on its business several years later. The “crowd manufacturing cycle” is almost upon us. Businesses that sell physical products need to urgently consider how to adapt to and mitigate the coming disruption. Continue reading
Long after his death Isaac Newton’s unpublished papers finally revealed a hidden obsession with alchemy. Newton was interested in particular with the Philosopher’s Stone, a proto-scientific cum mystical experiment reputed to transmutate one material into another. The Crown feared that the alchemists would devalue the coinage if they did one day manage to make gold coins out of lead. Newton, as Warden and Master of the Royal Mint, kept his alchemist musings to himself. Those who did not risked imprisonment and the hangman’s noose. The Crown knew then what many businesses are about to learn: even gold looses its value if it can be easily reproduced. This is precisely what is about to happen as a result of 3D printing.
A “crowd manufacturing cycle” is emerging that will disrupt the conventional chain of design, production, and distribution. 3D printing will do to many categories of products what MP3 did to music – but it will also do to the design and distribution of objects what Web 2.0 did to information. The emerging consumer and on-demand use of 3D printers will dramatically and irrevocably disrupt retail, design and distribution. But – crucially – some types of product will be immune to disruption.
Moore’s Law (transistors per chip) and Hendy’s Law (pixels per dollar) have been useful predictors of where processing power and digital photography were going. Something similar would be really useful for 3D printing. I tried to plot a law for the quality of print per dollar of 3D printers for an article I have been working on for the McKinsey Quarterly, but I don’t have the data. What I want to plot is something along these lines: quality (lower microns etc. + multi-materials) improves at the same cost every X months/years. Plotting this would help people plan for, and benefit from, the disruption of 3D printing.
I need help to do this: I have setup a Google spreadsheet that anybody can contribute data points to at https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AvV-pHeoX7ZYdG1OQkVNRVFnTEZLd3NoVUdHMTBIS2c&hl=en_US. The data I need are the following: Continue reading
HP are interesting because they are the first major manufacturer to enter the 3D printing space, partnering last year with Stratasys to offer 3D printers directly to designers and architects at the sub $20,000 range. So I questioned Vyomesh Joshi, Executive Vice President of HP’s Imaging and Printing Group, about where HP is going.
Johnny Ryan: HP is unusual among leading consumer technology suppliers in having entered the 3D printer market, which seems to be crowded with specialist firms. What was the thinking on this, and on entering the 3D printer space?
Vyomesh Joshi: We see the 3D printer space as an attractive market opportunity and a logical extension of our longstanding printing and graphics market leadership, particularly in large-format printing. As product design and engineering is evolving from 2D to 3D, customers are looking for a compelling way to demonstrate their 3D mechanical Continue reading
My basic overview of 3D printing appears in the current (Fortune 500) issue of Fortune.
This piece lays out some rudimentary basics, but I am currently working on a more detailed piece – on what I call the “crowd manufacturing cycle” (short note on this idea in previous post titled “Objects 2.0″). Also, see a more recent post with my discussion with John Kawola, CEO of Z Corporation. Text on the Fortune / CNN Money website, or scanned printed version with images below. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking allot about what I call “Objects 2.0″ and the impact we will see from 3D printing. I had opportunity to speak recently with John Kawola, the CEO of Z Corporation, one of the leading manufacturers of 3D printers. (I’ve spoken to the heads of 3D Systems, Objet, Makerbot, etc., and may post those conversations too.) I asked him about where he saw the technology going over the next decade and a half, what does he think the technological limits are, the hurdles, and the market opportunity (print on demand and professional print versus print at the home). Here is our exchange…
Johnny Ryan: Where do you see the future of the industry (in terms of growth, application, and impact over the next 5, 10 and 15 years)?
John Kawola: We’re excited by the rapid growth in software applications generating printable 3D data, and expect the trend to accelerate. New professional Continue reading
This is an initial note on something I have been thinking about for a while, and which I am now writing on: “Objects 2.0″ and the “crowd manufacturing cycle”.
3D printing, and the cycle of iterative remixing of physical design that will come with it, are going to dramatically disrupt manufacturing. It promises adjustment challenges to physical industry that have hitherto been largely confined to the music and movie industry. At the same time it will dramatically accelerate innovation. Continue reading