INTRODUCTION
1
CHAPTER
PART I: APPLICATIONS
OF 3D PRINTING
Getting Started with 3D Printing 2
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THERE IS NO DOUBT that the rise of 3D printing laid the foundation for a significant change in our society in
the coming decades. This chapter gives you a short historical perspective on the manufacturing roots of 3D
printing and how it currently affects our lives.
YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION?
The adoption of 3D printing is being heralded by some as the beginning of a “third industrial revolution,” but
we feel it is better called the “personal manufacturing revolution.
The first industrial revolution developed new manufacturing processes that included going from hand pro-
duction methods to machines, old to new chemical manufacturing processes, and the creation of machine
tools. The second industrial revolution is a continuation of the first industrial revolution and was charac-
terized with the increased adoption of the steam transport, large-scale manufacture of machine tools, the
increase in the use of steam-powered machines, and mass production (Figure 1-1). The second industrial
revolution, which introduced assembly lines, continues to affect how we manufacture goods today. These
two revolutions marked major turning points in history; almost every aspect of daily life was influenced
FIGURE 11: Workers assembling condensers at the Atwater Kent Factory in North Philadelphia, 1925.
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in some way. Average incomes and population
numbers showed unprecedented growth, and
the standard of living rose for most people.
3D printing, like its fabrication predecessors,
promises to change not just manufacturing
but our way of life. The key difference is that 3D
printing gives power to the individual. Essentially,
it is a factory on your desk; you can model an
idea and 3D print the object the same day. You
can manifest your concepts into a physical form
which was only once available through expen-
sive, exclusive, and time-consuming industrial
prototyping. You don’t need permission from a
board of directors, or even orders from custom-
ers, to produce new products. You just need your
imagination and a spool of plastic.
This is why we and many others believe "per-
sonal manufacturing revolution" is a more fitting
term for the changes 3D printing is bringing.
It shifts the focus and ability to the individual,
showcasing self-expression and self-sufficiency.
A MANUFACTURING FULL CIRCLE
3D printing won’t completely replace traditional
manufacturing processes. Rather, it will augment
the current means of mass production. In addition,
the old centers of manufacturing (large factories in urban areas) may no longer be as necessary. You can
now manufacture locally in rural areas, both in large factories and small shops, and you can economically
produce one piece or many. In this way, 3D printing has combined the best aspects of pre- and post-revolu-
tion manufacturing, as shown in Figure 1-2
.
Local design and production can be quick, efficient, and environmentally conscious. And because each 3D
print is made individually, modifications can be added quickly between 3D prints (something that mass man-
ufacturing cannot do easily).
In the next chapter, we'll examine how 3D printing affected the consumer maker movement.
FIGURE 12: 3D printing combines the best of all manufacturing
periods and shows how manufacturing has come full circle
(infographic by HoneyPoint3D™)
• Scalable workforce
• Production of one, a few OR
many
• Not location dependent
• Even higher standard of
living
• Quick, cheap, and custom
• Single worker production
• Low production volume
• Rural manufacturing
• Low standard of living
• Slow, expensive, but
custom
• Many factory workers
• Mass production
• Urban manufacturing
• Better standard of living
• Quick, cheap, but unvaried
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5 Chapter 2: 3D Printing and the Maker Movement Getting Started with 3D Printing 6
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