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General, Technology

3D printing – rapid PR-otyping

I was chatting today about manufacturing and engineering and the subject of 3D printing came up.

The discussion centred around the arrival of personal fabrication into the mainstream, public consciousness.

I first came across them via the Open University, but I think the Wired feature on the future of manufacturing was both the first time I’d read about them in a regular (albeit hi-tech focused) magazine and the first time I really got excited about the potential for using digital technologies for manufacturing.

Discussing the rise of RepRap, MakerBot and a comment was made along the lines of “Of course they were just called rapid prototyping machines in my day – 3D Printing really sells it”

Additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping never really going to sell this technology to the public – 3D printing (without wishing to sound like Jim from the Apprentice) “Does exactly what is says on the tin.”

You could have the greatest technology in the world, but unless you know how to market it, how to tell a story it’s never going to make the impact it deserves.

The world is full of great ideas, but it’s those who understand the power of language, of story and of demonstrations that we truly remember.

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