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How 3D Printing Will Change Every Industry

Names to consider: $DDD, $SSYS, $CIMT, $PRCP, & $ONVO

“(MoneyWatch) As technology theorist Ray Kurzweil pointed out in “The Age of Spiritual Machines,” the pace of innovation has been accelerating for centuries. A graph of such technological change looks a lot like the curve for Moore’s Law, the tech industry dictum that processor speeds double every 18 months.

Innovation is accelerating, and when the next great transformative change comes odds are that it will involve 3D printing.

3D printers aren’t exactly new;  indeed, they’ve been around for decades. But over the last few years, these printers have started to drop precipitously in price and have become generally more accessible and easy to use. Right now, you can buy any number of 3D printers for as little as $1,000, or what a typical laser printer cost 15 years ago. The difference, of course, is that while laser printer print ink on paper, 3D printer create real 3D objects on your desktop while you wait.

 

 

The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show was something of a coming out party for 3D printing. There were many 3D printers on display, many challenging established limitations. Various vendors showed off models that purported to be the cheapest or to print the largest objects within a consumer-friendly price range.

And the industry is evolving quickly. A simple printer like the MakerBot Replicator, which  retails for $1,700, churns out simple objects in a single color, while the Replicator 2X can print objects in two colors for $2,800.

 

 

Creating replacement household items like replacement doorknobs and shower curtain rings is an obvious application for 3D printers, but there’s at least one clear limitation: Most people can’t design things like that themselves….”

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