How Will Home-Based 3D Printers Impact the Economy?

Thanks to advanced IoT technology, we will soon be living in a time when home 3D printers are as common as refrigerators. As long as you have the necessary raw materials, and an internet connection to find the design templates you need, you can print virtually anything from a pocket comb to a new table for your living room .

For creative minds and ambitious inventors, it's an exciting prospect, but how would that affect our economy in general?

The potential economic ramifications

With any new technology, it's important to recognize the potential economic consequences of a full-fledged takeover. Assuming that most American households have a 3D printer, how could this have an impact on the economy?

Less consumer spending. If you had the choice between buying a new set of bookends for $ 50 and printing one yourself for a few cents, which one would you choose? Unless these bookends have a special personal appeal, you will go with it. At the individual level, this choice may not be of much importance, but once millions of people start printing their own items rather than buying them, consumer spending may fall, which could lead to an economic recession.
Rising demand for plastics. The main types of materials used for 3D printing are the ABS plastics, PLA and PVA although others are sure to emerge as they are. they become more feasible and less expensive. In the meantime, if consumers turn to these products to meet their 3D printing needs, this could increase the demand for raw materials. If commodity prices rise, this could hinder the growth of 3D printing as a whole.
Request for designs and specifications. There will almost certainly be increased demand for design specifications; Consumers will want to use their printers, but they may not have the time or technical ability to create their own models. As a result, sites and individuals who work to distribute more models will see an increase in sales and / or traffic.
Loss of employment. 3D printing has the power to make manufacturing much less expensive – and more automated . As a result, we could see the loss of some human jobs in the manufacturing industry. Admittedly, it is an effect at the scale of the industry, but it could limit the income and the purchasing power of residential consumers when it is unfolds on a sufficiently large scale.

Arguments for little or no effect

Of course, one could argue that the rise of 3D home printing could have little or no economic impact.

For example:

Home printers have not abolished the printing industry. Consider this: Modern print shops are as efficient and profitable as ever, offering an impression for much less money than it would cost to print at home . Traditional home printers have barely touched the industry at all. We could see a similar effect with 3D printers, where industrial prototyping and manufacturing remain more profitable than any domestic installation.
3D printing technology is always expensive. Although prices have fallen sharply since the initial ramp-up of technology, it will cost you at least a few hundred dollars if you want a 3D printer at home. This will be a prohibitive hurdle for people who want to start creating their own materials, but this can stoke the fire of innovation in companies capable of producing more economical printers.
Not all consumers want a 3D printer. We must also take into account the realities of consumer demand. A few years ago, only one in three American consumers was interested in buying a 3D printer. If consumers are generally not interested in having a 3D printer at home, the scope of the technology will be reduced, and all of these potential economic ramifications will be inherently limited, at least until demand increases to the next level. 39; future.

So, how will 3D printers transform our economy? There are a lot of variables at play here, so it's hard to say for sure. 3D printing has impressive production capabilities, both for manufacturers and for individuals, but it is so early in its development that it is almost impossible to say how it will evolve from a single source. here – or how that could affect our buying habits.

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Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for more than 10 years. It covers technology trends with respect to businesses.

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