FIGURE 161: An example of a 3D printed torque wrench that helps tighten the Olsson Ruby nozzle to a specific tightness. The
manufacturer supplied just the CAD file for this upgrade process.
In this book, you have learned how 3D printers work, how to use CAD software programs, how to set up
your own 3D printer, how to use 3D printing in your business and even how to make a prototype! You have
also learned about some of the third-party services you can hire to outsource part or all of your 3D printing
workflow. We don’t have a crystal ball, but this chapter gives a glimpse into what you might expect to see in
the years to come.
WE ARE ALL MAKERS, AND COMPANIES WILL FOSTER THAT EVEN MORE
Corporations will help advance the use of 3D printing by encouraging our creativity and enabling
on-demand access to products because 3D printing will eventually touch everyone’s lives, and companies
are starting to notice. Consumers will have a chance to become co-creators as companies actively develop
products, services, and tools to help them participate even more in this technology.
PROVIDING ON-DEMAND ACCESS TO PRODUCTS
Hardware stores in the future may not stock all items but instead maintain CAD files of items (even ones
that are no longer in production) enabling you to 3D print them at home or pick them up at a 3D print store.
If your dishwasher breaks down, the manufacturer may allow you to download the CAD file (for free or for
a price) so you can print the replacement part at home allowing on-demand manufacturing…even at 3 am
when stores and repair services are usually closed! This saves you the lengthy wait of getting the part deliv-
ered in the mail or you having to pick it up at the store. This solution also helps companies from making too
many, too few, or from stocking the wrong replacement parts.
Companies that offer these downloadable CAD files as an option might also provide consumer installa-
tion instructions to limit unnecessary service calls. If the part is easy to install, consumers will be able to
complete the repair themselves because companies know you want to save time and money. For example,
Figure 16-1 shows a 3D printed torque wrench that is designed for a specific use: to install a 3D print nozzle
on a 3D printer with a specific tightness as defined by the internal “fins” on the 3D print. This wrench is not
shipped with the nozzle, the end user prints this themselves to assist with the installation process. Every-
one wins: The manufacturer doesn’t have to incur the cost of manufacturing the wrench, and the consumer
doesn’t have to purchase it separately.
ORGANIZATIONS WILL USE 3D PRINTING TO STRENGTHEN THEIR
CONNECTION WITH YOU
3D printing offers organizations and companies unique branding opportunities. Mass customization through
3D printing allows for the widespread and relatively inexpensive manufacturing of one-off objects. Brand
managers know that most customers want products tailored to them. The ability to create something per-
sonal, in partnership with their favorite brand, will strengthen brand loyalty and make customers more
involved than just passive buyers.
In the future you will see more examples of branded “one-off” gloves, hearing aids, hats, and more.
Through intuitive software, you might be able to adjust the design of the product you are buying. It will be
the new way to monogram your purchases, one can only imagine that someday it might all be possible with
just the touch of a button, as shown in Figure 16-2.
FIGURE 162: In the future, user-friendly interfaces will allow for mass customization of 3D printed goods over the Internet
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