3D printing is an explosive technology. In fact, it might be as explosive as blockchain it. Combining the two holds great promise.
For those who are not too familiar with 3D printing, it is basically additive manufacturing. The process we see most utilized now is the exact opposite. We see one start with a big piece of metal, as an example, and something created out of it. The metal is cut, shaped, and shaved to create the item.
3D printing works similar to an ink jet printer, at least in the early stages of the technology. To create an item, a material is "printed" in layers until the product is complete. After that, it goes through some post process finishing to complete it.
Over the last few years, the number of materials used in 3D printed expanded greatly. What started out as mostly plastic now included metals, wood, food, and even organic material. We are looking at something that is truly revolutionary.
So where does blockchain fit into all of this?
The most obvious point is with decentralization. Manufacturing is relegated to companies that are big enough to use the economies of scale to their advantage. They are protected through the patent and copyright process. The model is manufacture then distribute.
Since 3D printing iuses a model of distribute then manufacture, we see how the process is decentralized. This means smaller players can enter the market, including individuals. This is where blockchain enters the picture.
Much in the same way that we see blockchain decentralizing the financial industry, 3D printing coupled with it will do the same to manufacturing.
We are now starting to see this come into reality with the formation of Biquitous. This is a project that was put together, in part, by @stan and @michaelx. From what I understand it is going to run on the BEOS blockchain which is a middle chain of EOS and Bitshares. This chain uses the technology of EOS meaning the transaction speed is near instantaneous.
What is revolutionary about this idea is the fact that it should stimulate innovation. This platform is going to allow anyone to create digital plans that can be downloaded and printed out. If one lacks the skills for that, it is only a matter of putting out a bounty to find someone who is willing to create what is desired.
This all ties in to the built-in marketplace which accesses the plans stored on the blockchian. Creators can find consumers and vice versa. It is a two-way engagement platform. Using cryptocurrency, one is able to purchase the plan and print the item out at home. This protects the creators who get a payment for each download in the platform's native token.
For those who follow my articles on here, I am a big fan of 3D printing. I feel we will see the explosion in that industry towards the end of 2019 or the early part of 2020 that mirrors what happened to blockchain in 2018. You are going to see 3D printing being talked about everywhere.
The present situation, in my opinion, reveals a technology that is not quite ready yet. The speeds are still being worked on with more materials added each week. For the most part, this industry is still operating in the traditional 3D print arenas such as automotive and aeronautical. That is soon going to change.
As a side note, if you want to see what is really going to affect the Chinese economy, consider the effect 3D printing will have upon it. The cost of labor, no matter how inexpensive, cannot compete with this technology.
3D printing, especially coupled with blockchain, is going to do for physical products what the internet did for blogging. When the internet arose, suddenly everyone could express their ideas. No longer was "reporting" relegated to just the big corporations.
This idea will care into the physical realm. Anyone, anywhere in the world, will be able convert an idea into a viable product. This also allows them to earn income from their ideas.
Here is the website.
There is also a very informative video.
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This is not financial advice nor an endorsement for any of the projects mentioned herein.