The Future of 3D Printing

The future of 3D printing

In a famous television series, the crew of a starship possesses the ability to replicate various items to suit their needs. When it was first aired years ago, many considered the application of such technology to be a fun, but farfetched concept that wouldn’t likely occur in their lifetimes. Today, the relatively recent emergence of a particular technology, now in mainstream use, could be the beginning adaptation of this futuristic concept.

More common than ever before, 3D printing technology has increased in both demand and capability in recent years. A 3D printer takes a digital representation of an item and uses a layering technique to mold material into the appropriate shape matching the item.

The technology isn’t yet capable of producing a fully functional piece of advanced equipment such a smart phone or laptop PC, but the possibility may exist in future iterations of the printer. As modern technology approaches that point, the need for warehousing items than can be “replicated” by a printer may vanish. On demand production of an item can be facilitated by a printer at a store near a purchaser, negating the need for a company to expend resources to produce such items ahead of time.

Like modern televisions, 3D printers with such capabilities will likely drop in price as their technological development advances and more are purchased by end users. As the price drops, the average household may have one or more of them in the home, just as they currently do with microwaves. Should this occur, the need for individuals to have items shipped to their home other than raw materials for the machines may vanish.

Do you think the Postal Service should one day incorporate 3D printing into its service lineup to stay ahead of the trend?

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