Why President Obama Mentioned 3D Printing in the State of the Union Address

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.”

Obama mentions 3D Printing in State of the Union Address

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.


  1. Debbie Holton

    It’s true that Additive Manufacturing is a revolutionary technology. What the president recognized was the extensive work and groundbreaking partnerships that are going into the National Additive manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown Ohio.
    We would welcome Shapeways participation in this new model for industry, government and research collaboration.

    1. Turboguy

      You didn’t get love from the POTUS, that’s talk of government contol over 3d printing.

      He wasn’t talking about businesses setting up those hubs. He was talking about Government setting them up, and with that comes control.

  2. Ed Tackett

    Finally after all of these years the tireless work of the pioneers of this industry (RE: the ones with arrows in their back) we get some love from POTUS. Dave, Terry, Hod, Graham, Todd, Mark, ect… the list goes on. Hats off to you.

    1. Duann

      Agreed, well done to everyone who helped raise 3d printing to this level…

  3. Jesse G

    I’m hoping to see 3d printed cars and houses before I die. Make it happen Shapeways… I’m 28

  4. Urika

    More and more people and governments start to slowly understand the magnitude of the 3D printing industry. USA gov is probably the pioneering in this matter and that’s encouraging fact.
    I have no doubt that we will witness things that are beyond our imagination in the next decade.
    3d printing technology already built alternative shell for hermit crabs ;-)
    Manufactured space mission accessories, duplicate live tissues…
    But dont forget – also produced weapons and guns, I think that president Obama will be smart if he will stay alerted with the negative side of 3d printing.

    1. Harry

      You see a negative, I see a positive.
      God created man, Sam Colt made them equal, and 3D printing will give all people easy access. Criminals and oppressive governments will always have guns, the only protection is for all people to be equally armed and able to defend themselves from being controlled by violence on anybody’s part. Don’t you think Syrian rebels wish they could 3D print weapons to fight for their freedom? America is only free because ofviolent revolution in 1776. When government no longer fears a revolution, they inevitably become oppressive. Witness the PATRIOT ACT & NDAA. Witness the NSA recording every email and phone call, storing the data in Utah with supercomputers to scan for “terrorism.” They need a warrant to secretly open your snail mail and copy it, why is email different in the eyes of the 4th Amendment? That’s why we need a strong 2nd Amendment.

    2. Urika

      I mostly agree with you, I mean, thank god US gov invest and increase its hold on the 3d printing revolution and industry. Syrian rebels could get better stand using 3d printed weapons, but 1, 5, 10 years from today this weapon can serve same people to harm US troops…I know its sounds naive or negative but I guess its just a natural thought, whenever a new technology makes such a huge impact we have to doubt it and ask the questions.

    3. Anonymous

      Dude. You just got a little freaky.

  5. Nanning 3Dwergjes

    This is great news for local production hubs around the world! Initiatives like FabLab and TechShop are having an great impact on inventiveness already. This will boost their expansion and success and even help humble toy makers in the Netherlands. A lot of unique and personalized products, that are better suited to the wishes of consumers, are now within reach!

  6. Gidi Grinstein, Reut Institute

    Check out Obama’s vision of 3D printing ALREADY in action in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and not just in Youngstone, Ohio, at the The Reut Institute Cross-Lab Network – XLN – initiative (check us out on FB). Our communal technological space, nicknamed The Slik (Cache), is designed to launch a network of cross-labs that will place Israel at the frontier of the coming revolution of self-manufacturing, and generate technological leadership and literacy in this field.

  7. Phil Morgan

    3D printing is nothing new to our government. Your taxes have been (over)paying for the government’s 3D printers for years.

    NASA has been using them for years and is manufacturing rocket parts with them now. They have big plans for 3D printing in the near future using them to theoretically produce satellites or space ships in outer space while in orbit. The printers can make their own parts. Just imagine what the military is doing with them that we won’t hear about for a few years or so.

    The possibilities are only limited by our imagination and people who are scared of the possibilities… like Politicians. If the government tries to step in and take control in some way, nothing good can come from that. BO’s mention of 3D printing is like having someone put a gun to your head and telling you not to worry.

    I can’t wait until I have to start paying a 3D tax on everything that comes out of my 3D printers.

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