Locally made: Technological change has a way of sneaking up on you. That’s the case with 3-D printing. The techniques for shaping complex objects by building up plastic or other materials layer by layer found their initial applications in novelty markets. But increasingly, 3-D printing is finding new uses in mainstream manufacturing.
Pictured is the Printrbot, developed by inventor Brook Drumm. It’s a 3-D printer, designed for home use, that could be priced under $300. What industries will cease to exist when anyone can print from a device next to the coffee maker at home, and when the formulas for common designs are available online? Among those affected could be toy companies, makers of costly replacement parts, and even the shipping companies that currently transport manufactured goods.