Large and Cheap: 3D Printing

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Teradata Employee

I’ve written a few blogs on the future of 3D printing and its impact on manufacturing and data analytics in the future, or as Chris Anderson stated, “The long tail of things.”  But, up to now, 3D printing has been expensive and mostly for small objects.

The latest advancements are now changing this to cheap and larger sized objects.  An article in The Economist outlines a new offering that can build objects with dimensions of up to 2.5 meters by 1.2 meters by 1 meter. 

What is most interesting is that these objects can be manufactured from waste plastic.  “The ink is cheap, too. High-density polyethylene is as common as muck—literally, for a lot of it ends up on refuse tips. Chop it up, though, and it is grist to the mill. Mr Rogge estimates that if he and his colleagues had printed their boat from commercial plastic filament it would have cost them $800. Instead, 250 clean, empty milk bottles set them back just $3.20.”

So we now have open sourced waste product remotely manufactured objects.  Does this mean that I will someday take my empties down to the store, toss them in a box, and get a replacement garbage can top (the outdoor equivalent of socks)?  How does this impact the tracking of my shopping habits?  Do we care? No need to stock (cheap) garbage cans, nor ship them from overseas.  The only need is to stock source material, manufacturing design code and maintain the box.  My shopping habits are most probably not going to impact this distribution channel nor need a targeted marketing campaign with resultant sales interactions to be tracked to meet my needs.

Seems to me like this is less data, not more, for the first time that I can remember.