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Unit 3 Micro: 3D Printing and a Manufacturing Revolution

Geoff Riley

23rd January 2012

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is an emerging technology that takes product design data which provides a geometric representation of a product such as a pen and that data is then sent over to a machine that allows products to be manufactured ‘on the spot’ typically using additive materials in liquid or powder format.

This TED talk from Lisa Harouni (co-founder of Digital Forming) looks at examples of intricately designed products made using this new and increasingly affordable manufacturing technology. 3D machines can build structures, build replacement parts and parts within parts - the detailed resolution possible is incredible.

Watch the video here

This is a stunning and really clear explanation of something that will excite students and provide a wonderful example of process innovation at work - are we close to a tipping point for the landscape of manufacturing and consumption?

We are happy with downloading software updates from the web, how soon before downloading spare parts or downloading medical implants from your computer becomes the norm? 3D printing opens up a completely new vista for customisation of products.

More here from the Financial Times (July 2012)

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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