Ok, here's one tweet I just saw.

Ok, here’s one tweet I just saw. Interesting for discussion, what do you think?

@rks: Laser printers didnt make books obsolete -the Kindle did. #3Dprinters wont replace manufacturers, something else will -Sam Feller #design

3D printers weren’t made to replace manufacturing. Their goal is to decentralize and share.

Atomic-scale manufacturing via self-replicating nanomachines? If we have that, the ability to produce anything with some desktop device, then dedicated factories will be nearly obsolete, right?

Or I suppose something more akin to the Kindle analogy would be some Kurzweil-like singularity scenario, where our brains have been digitized and we’re all living in VR. At that stage, the manufacturing of physical goods would be irrelevant, because all we’ll care about is software & data.

Interesting, but that’s not the word on the street! Many people out there see them as an eventual substitution. And how does Share work as a business model?

Since when did the kindle make books obsolete? Let’s see a first aid kit with a kindle. A signed first edition kindle. A pop-up kindle. Actually, that last one would be pretty sweet. The point is, just because a technology is improved upon doesn’t mean its totally obsolete.

@Giovanni_Salinas working for @Red_Hat , I can assure you that sharing actually works quite well. 1.3 billion dollars revenue, 6000 people, everything Open Source.

I work in heavy manufacturing. Until we can 3D print structures that can withstand thousands of pounds of force, the traditional methods will remain. In fact, there are very few applications I on the equipment I work on that can see 3D printing replacing. It’s going to end up like transportation. Yes, airplanes, cars and trucks became a huge piece of our transportation infrastructure. But we still have boats, barges and trains. The Segway hasn’t made bikes obsolete. 3D printing is going to be the same way - it is going to make things possible that we don’t even currently do. The older methods may not grow as much or their growth may become flat…but they aren’t going to vanish.

Laser printers made desktop publishing possible, and in the long term that has had some major effects including the rise of self-publishing. A similar trajectory could be envisaged for plastic parts.

And I’m happy for you and Red Hat, @Jan_Wildeboer , but I think we’re missing the point here. Will the promise of having a “manufacturing plant” in every home be fulfilled? I agree with @Daniel_Foley and @Jasper_Janssen , Will we get to the day when 3d printing parts substitute traditional manufacturing? Asking how does “Share” work as a business model is not about software, it’s about 3d printing and its relation with traditional manufacturing. However, I think it would be very interesting if you could share your ideas on Red Hat’s successful model and maybe we can figure out a way to apply it to actual products made with 3d printing.

3D printing doesn’t have to be able to do everything in order to be a revolution, just like 2D printing didn’t have to be able to make bound books and posters.

I think of 3d printing as reaching “break even” when the average consumer saves as much money as the printer cost by printing things instead of buying them. When the cost difference is ten to one (save ten dollars for every dollar the printer costs over its lifetime), AND the cost is less than about $500, we can call it a revolution.

Custom PCB printing will provide huge possibilities too. Embedding them to a product will also be a revolution. I’m thinking of something like a Raspberry Pi embedded in a product.