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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 31st, 2008
    New Jersey, Turnpike exit 9. ;-)
    RepRap desktop factory technology
    I've used the search function and don't see this topic discussed anywhere, so I'll post on it. I've just become aware of it myself on via BoingBoing.

    Apparently there has been something called "rapid prototyping" or "desktop factory" technology that's been going on for some time now. These are machines hooked up to PCs that use automated plastic extruder technology to convert 3D computer aided designs into physical 3D objects created by the plastic extruder. These machines are also called "3D printers" because they are like having a printer that "prints out" 3d objects. You put a bunch of plastic in one end, and a 3D object you've designed on the computer comes out the other end.

    For awhile these machines have cost up to $30,000 or so, and have been used only by designers at large companies. There is now at least one machine that costs about $4,000. Boingboing now has a bulletin about an open source group that has come up with a crude design for a $400 level version that a single person can put together in two days. The group is shooting for building a machine that can replicate it self by spitting out the parts used to construct it. Right now this design is Not Ready For Prime Time. But it looks to me like this technology is in the stage personal computers were in when hobbyists were building them in their basements before Apple came out with the Apple I prototype. That tells me how fast this technology can develop.

    What does this mean to us? Well, in the not too distant future, large scale manufacturers of small products may no longer exist and we as affiliates may be dealing with amateur "mom and pop" merchants who make their own goods in their basements and run their affiliate programs off their laptops. Micro niches will become the norm. Every small product you can think of may have a unique design of limited production. Heck, most of us may become those moms & pops.

    In the longer term, however, we may see most of the world buying only raw materials like plastic or metals because everyone will be able to make anything they want at home from designs downloaded from the internet.

    Very science-fictiony. Reminds me of a Robert Heinlein short story I read when I was a teen-ager. (and I thought net neutrality was going to be a big worry!)

    The following links, [4 links REMOVED]
    Last edited by Merchant Consultant Team; June 5th, 2008 at 06:48 AM. Reason: Read the rules

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 31st, 2008
    New Jersey, Turnpike exit 9. ;-)
    oops. Sorry about the links. I thought the rule was against posting affiliate links. I will reread the rule with more care.

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