3D printing / additive manufacturing – revolutionary stuff

Let’s hear it for (Radio 4’s) Peter Day’s In Business: a dull business programme – never ! The great thing is its ability to introduce new subjects that you knew nothing about. The 31 July edition is no exception – actually it is an exception because I’m writing about it.

Think of a computer printer: electronic instructions, and some squirty-inky-jets, create a precisely-specified printed page.

Now switch to 3-dimensions, still with sqirty-jets, but where the material is plastic, or concrete, and what is created is a precisely-specified 3-dimensional object, built up layer-by-layer. This gives you – a component – created in one go, as a single object, with no need to drill holes, or cut pieces out, or assemble.

The implications are profound – as Peter Day says: ‘It happens once – maybe – in a reporting lifetime: an encounter with something that is really going to change the world. But I think it may have happened three times to me in the past 36 years of covering business for the BBC.’ He talks about computers, the internet – and 3D printing.

Here’s the link to the programme page – with background, weblinks, a synopsis, a picture or two, and the 30-minute broadcast.

(My daughter says 3D printing was on CSI 6 years ago).

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