In his 2013, second term State of the Union address, President Obama mentioned 3D printing, that it “has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.” He mentioned the additive manufacturing hub the US government is helping to fund in Youngstown Ohio and three more they are about to launch, suggesting Congress should “create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made in America.”
When the President of the United States mentions a technology such as 3D printing in the State of the Union address, you know his staff have undertaken substantial research from every possible angle, that his aides have spoken to engineers, economists and experts in manufacturing to understand the revolutionary potential. When Obama mentions a “network of additive manufacturing hubs,” he is at the same time validating the Shapeways business model that consists of a network of manufacturing hubs, in both the USA and Europe, a network that brings manufacturing closer to the people that buy the products. Creating products and jobs locally.
When Obama says 3D printing will revolutionize manufacturing, he is not only speaking of the technologies we have at hand today, the technologies that allow Shapeways users to create their designs in Nylon or Stainless Steel to sell to people around the world, but also he is speaking of the technologies that will soon evolve. When you will be able to 3D print plastic and steel composites in a single 3D print, when you will be able to 3D print electronics into your products, when you will be able to make things that are beyond the realm of the imagination right now.
Think back to five years ago, when the ability to 3D print your ideas was extremely expensive and the option to buy and sell 3D printed products simply did not exist. Now for us at Shapeways it is the new normal. Obama and his advisors obviously think that 3D printed products will soon be the new normal for the rest of the world, really soon.