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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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3D Printing and the 21st Century Blacksmith

May 8, 2013, 3:16 PM

Before the explosion of the auto industry, there was the local blacksmith. They were charged with forging custom horseshoes to protect the hooves of the best transportation available to man at that time. 

Fast-forward to the 21st century and we may see a modern version of the blacksmith in many neighborhoods across the world. Except this time, the “blacksmith” is a skilled designer/3-D Printer with highly developed skills in CAD design who is able to help locals prototype and create custom products that they concept for various uses.

3-D Printing is not a burgeoning fad; it will change engineering, architecture, R&D, manufacturing, medicine and even marketing. It could also usher in a new era of product development and significantly cut the time of concept to market. Fast business becomes faster with 3-D Printing at the core. To be able to create, tweak and fabricate a part, model, or even an item of clothing on the spot is now reality.

Additive Manufacturing

We have moved from reductive manufacturing to additive manufacturing. This is revolutionary and drives the cost of manufacturing complexity to zero

Instead of stamping out parts, or chassis, 3-D printing is all additive, the technology “prints” material and formulates from nothing, the material is added on, particle by particle.  

How is 3-D printing currently being used?

It can be used for rapid prototyping new products or printing toys, household products and even Motorcycles.

Why should I care?

If you are in manufacturing, 3-D printing can lessen your development costs and make experimenting, and prototyping faster and cheaper.

If you are in marketing, 3-D printing broadens your customization pallet, giving marketers the ability to create custom premiums, products, and 3-D marketing collateral.

If you are a maker/crafter, 3-D printing is one of the greatest tools at your disposal, enabling small-scale production of whatever your design and maker skills can conjure.

Simply put, 3-D printing is a game changer and it will have a profound impact on many sectors within the next few years.

To learn more about the 3D Printing, download our free report here (update with new link).

sparks & honey is a next generation agency that helps brands synchronize with culture. Follow us on Twitter at @sparksandhoney to stay up to date on the latest high energy trends.


3D Printing and the 21st Ce...

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