Why? Well, the technology is at the dawn of a revolution in manufacturing. One that doesn’t rely on armies of cheap labour, but that needs both capital investment and bright educated engineers to unlock its potential to transform the UK’s manufacturing base.
As THIS article in FT Alphaville notes, when someone of George Magnus’ economic standing [former chief economist and current senior economic adviser at UBS]is now taking a closer look at how technological changes, and 3D printing in particular, are impacting the economic landscape, it’s an indication of the seriousness with which the technology should be judged.
Also, in the Economist there’s THIS interesting article about the issue of copyright of relating to making copies of existing merchandise using 3D printing. For me, a key point in the article is in the last paragraph,
“Today’s 3D printing crowd—tucked away in garages, basements, small workshops and university labs—needs to keep a keen eye on such policy debates as they grow. “There will be a time when impacted legacy industries [will] demand some sort of DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998] for 3D printing,” says Mr Weinberg. If the tinkerers wait until that day, it will be too late.”
It’s not the copyright issue, though important, that is the key point for me here. It’s that technological innovation, just as with computers decades earlier, comes from tinkerers in garages, workshops and universities. We in the UK should not miss this industrial revolution, but as I’ve said before, should be introducing 3D printing machines into schools and colleges now.