Tuesday, 14 August 2012

3D Printing the next TRILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY?

The Motley Fool,  a multimedia financial-services company that provides financial solutions for investors through various stock, investing, and personal finance products, says that "The Future is Made in America" and that 3D Printing will put 100 million Chinese factory workers out on the street. Bold claims. Moreover, they assert that three companies control the technology and that not to invest in 3D Printing now would be like not investing in Apple, Microsoft, Intel or IBM during their early years as growth stocks.

If you have never read a Motley Fool Special Report you really should. Particularly entertaining are the list of 3D Printing wonders the author lists as evidence that "This Changes Everything". They are:
  • "I just saw a violin appear out of thin air and play a Bach sonata"
  • "Right before that, I saw someone cram a milk jug into a metal tube and pull a shoelace out at the other end."
  • "Heck, when I sat down to my desk this morning, I saw an anatomically perfect human kidney spun together on a cotton candy wheel. A surgeon used it to perform a successful transplant."
  • "And they can now print with more than 99 different materials. Not just high quality plastics, many of which are completely recyclable (like milk jugs) or biodegradable. But also some of the most durable and useful physical materials we use in the "analog" world, like wood, glass, rubber, steel, and concrete." "Some printers can even handle biological materials like human kidney cells. Or composites of more than two materials that create special properties like heat resistance."
  • "Some can make three dimensional objects from ordinary printer paper and even chocolate."
  • "How about an architect building a model? Or a product designer making a prototype? Or a dentist casting a mold?"
  • "One dentist in Belgium even fabricated an entire titanium jaw and successfully implanted it in an 83-year old patient. He says "there are no limits" to what 3D printing can do in the medical field: "We can replicate bones and even make them stronger than the original. It's like the Six Million Dollar Man.")"
  • "Scientists at Drexel University in Philadelphia are using 3D technology to create exact scale-model replicas of ancient dinosaur bones, a breakthrough that was never possible before."
  • "Another group of researchers is making shells for "homeless" hermit crabs. (They like the printed shells even better than the real thing.)"
  • "The Air Force's new F-35 fighter jets use components created with 3D printers. The process can make complex structures that were previously impossible to manufacture."
  • "Rolls Royce is using them too."
  • "Motorcycle maker Ducati cut 20 months (or 70%) off its usual development time for a new racing engine."
  • "A small supplier to Nike called Union Footwear got a leg up on its bigger competitors by faxing its design bid in 3D."
  • "An Ohio company that supplies crash test dummies to automakers is using the technology to produce new shapes and sizes that respond to client needs that can evolve by the day."
  • "3D printing is an "additive" process that builds objects from the ground up, layer by layer. One architect is even using it to make entire buildings."
  • "The Smithsonian is using 3D printers to digitize their entire collection; the statue of Thomas Jefferson you see in the National Museum of American history is actually a 3D replica of the original brass statue."
  • "Shoppers are already ordering lamps, jewelry, sunglasses, and even bikini swimsuits, all made to their exact specifications. (I know I won't miss having to try on shoes at the mall.)"
  • "CSI using a 3D printer to make a model of a crime scene bullet."
There is so much more in the report it worth a read. Then you can decide whether to take more Motley Fool advice and take up their investment suggestions. You know it makes sense. 


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