This report draws together the insights from our event on personal manufacturing and the rise of 3D printing.
- Personal 3D printers are a technology that has been on the horizon for a long time, but 2011 is likely to be the year they start to become mainstream.
- 2010 saw a step up in corporate investment in this technology.
- Industry-standard technology will continue to improve and become cheaper, and more intermediaries are likely to crop up.
- Barriers include intellectual property and health and safety issues.
- While personal manufacturing is in ‘hobbyist’ territory for now, this is likely not to last for long. Its open source foundations are likely to mean that innovation will be rapid.
In January 2011 Nesta hosted an event to look at the impact of 3D printing on the manufacturing industry.
The event brought together three experts from the field of small scale manufacturing technology.
Adrian Bowyer is the inventor of the RepRap machine, a self-replicating open-source 3D printer. Haydn A. Insley is Manager at FabLab Manchester, the UK’s first FabLab where you can turn up and use their equipment, software and expertise to prototype your ideas. Alice Taylor, previously Commissioning Editor for Education at Channel 4, is now the founder of start-up Makieworld, which wants to use 3D printers and other technologies to make customisable dolls.
This report draws together some of the key concepts that were discussed on the day. For the full details, you can watch a video of the entire event. You can also access a list of further reading, videos, case studies and examples on the Personal Manufacturing resources page.