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Stephen Green

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March 27, 2014 - 3:00 pm

COTTAGE INDUSTRY

Greg Beato looks at the future of the 3d printed economy:

Imagine what will happen when millions of people start using the tools that produced The Liberator to make, copy, swap, barter, buy, and sell all the quotidian stuff with which they furnish their lives. Rest in peace, Bed, Bath & Beyond. Thanks for all the stuff, Foxconn, but we get our gadgets from Pirate Bay and MEGA now.

Once the retail and manufacturing carnage starts to scale, the government carnage will soon follow. How can it not, when only old people pay sales tax, fewer citizens obtain their incomes from traditional easy-to-tax jobs, and large corporate taxpayers start folding like daily newspapers? Without big business, big government can’t function.

It was called “starving the beast” when Ronald Reagan did it with tax cuts. What should we call it when big manufacturing becomes a cottage industry performed on the same scale as knitting a sweater for your cat?

******

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

Stephen Green began blogging at VodkaPundit.com in early 2002, and has served as PJMedia's Denver editor since 2008. He's one of the hosts on PJTV, and one-third of PJTV's Trifecta team with Scott Ott and Bill Whittle. Steve lives with his wife and sons in the hills and woods of Monument, Colorado, where he enjoys the occasional lovely adult beverage.

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All Comments   (4)
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Somehow, I don't think big manufacturers are quaking in their boots as of yet, or will be for many years to come. Until we have the "replicators" posited in so many science fiction stories, where we dump in materials having the required elements, and then it breaks down any compounds and reorganizes / recompounds the elements into the appropriate shapes.

I used to work for a company that manufactures irrigation equipment. A product like a sprinkler head is very simple mechanically (the headaches for the mechanical engineer are in designing it for coverage, durability, and reliability). Seven different moving parts. Four different metal alloys. Three different polymer (plastic) compositions. Using high speed, industrial strength machinery (injection molders, laser cutting, large metal presses, nearly fully automated assembly), each and every sprinkler head took about four minutes to produce.

Using a 3-D printer, I would estimate that it would take at least four or five hours per head - plus my time to manually assemble each one. This assumes a printer that does not exist today, or on the far horizon - one that can print any kind of polymer, and sinter any kind of metal alloy.

Then just consider how many things in your home these days have a structure that is "nano-fine" - there are microchips in just about everything more complex than a frying pan and spatula.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well said.

And that's just the physical component. What about the software?
Does Samsung just sell the plans for its latest phone, and charge you for the software to make it run?

The impending death of the Brick And Mortar has been Absolute Truth, Not To Be Questioned, since the 90s.

They are still here.

Has the landscape changed some? Yes, and will change some more. Incrementally. It's not clear how it will all settle out, but one thing IS certain:

The Prophets of Doom will continue to peddle their wares.

34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep. No offense to Stephen, but this is the ultimate in naval-gazing.

I think a lot of people who've never worked in manufacturing have absolutely no clue about how most of the world works. Their day-to-day lives are built on gigantic assumptions and ignorance.

3-D printer technology has a very long way to go, that is the technology requires massive innovation, to get from where it is to where it would need to be for this article to be realistic.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was called “starving the beast” when Ronald Reagan did it with tax cuts. What should we call it when big manufacturing becomes a cottage industry performed on the same scale as knitting a sweater for your cat?

I think the name is correct as is. It ain't broke so don't fix it.

As for Reagan... if he were still alive and capable of thought (God Rest his soul) he's be fully on board with this project! If 3d Printing existed in the 80's he would be an enthusiastic supporter methinks.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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