Advantages of 3D printing over traditional manufacturing (3)
Instant, global distribution.
In an ‘on demand’ modern world it’s not difficult to see the public adopting home manufacturing. The ability to watch movies instantly on your computer or TV with services like Netflix has quickly killed the video store, and additive manufacturing could very well do the same for many of the products we buy every day. For example, tooth brushes could be automatically printed every 3 months, replacing worn out ones without giving it another thought. As the technology becomes more widely adopted, more and more ‘home printing ready’ products will start to appear in the market as businesses try to harness the cost saving benefits of distribution through 3D printers.
Universal cost to ‘ship’ unlimited quantities of products anywhere in the world.
From Cairo to California, the cost of distributing a digital file is pretty much universal. No matter where you are in the world, digitally distributed products can be downloaded for home manufacture with minimal cost to the creators of the product. For end users also, the cost for large items compared to smaller ones is determined by file size and is generally minimal. Multiple instances of any given product could also be made from a single file to further reduce the cost of distribution.
Permanently and instantly available spare parts.
Nothing inspires us to rush out and make a purchase like when something breaks. Having to wait days or even weeks for a spare part to be ordered, shipped and delivered is a time consuming and often frustrating process. Is the part in stock? Do they still make them? With on demand digital products, spare parts could forever be available for download without the need to store endless spares. If something breaks, simply download and print out the required part.