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#9 Micro Manufacturing

The Future Human Podcast on January 18, 2012 10:21

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In Micro Manufacturing, the Future Human team explore how 3D printing technology is starting a new Industrial Revolution.

Over the next 10 years, we’re going to see digital economics upturn industrial production and the physical world of ‘things’, as emerging printing technologies and the distribution efficiencies of the Internet give individuals the power to challenge the giants of the manufacturing sector.

The advent of affordable 3D printers is offering would-be designers the scope to produce a panoply of products: plastic toys, furniture fixtures, electronic components – even finely crafted chocolates. All of these items can be reproduced today using 3D design files supplied from anywhere in the world, with printing projects like RepRap and Makerbot lowering the economic barriers every year. Meanwhile, open source initiatives and skill sharing hackspaces are building enthusiastic communities who support product design.

But will the Micro Manufacturing movement really challenge the behemoths of global trade or will it remain a niche concern? And how will the new hordes of ‘makers’ circumvent the problems of digital piracy and ensure their printing enterprises remain profitable?

Podcast host Ben Beaumont-Thomas discusses these questions and others with fellow Futurehumanista Jack Roberts, as well as two Micro Manufacturing pioneers: Assa Ashuach, a product designer and co-founder of 3D printing company Digital Forming, and Soner Ozenc, founder of Razorlab, a laser-cutting company who recently partnered with Ponoko, the global leaders in Micro Manufacturing. We also hear from Brendan Dawes of Beep Industries, a product designer who uses 3D printing to prototype his designs at home.

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