White House commissions report on 3-D printers

“Just as personal computers have dramatically changed everyday life, 3-D printers will profoundly affect how products are made, designed and consumed, say Cornell professor Hod Lipson and analyst Melba Kurman in a new report.”

A very encouraging report has just been submitted to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Recommendations include:
1. Put a personal manufacturing lab in every school
2. Offer teacher education in basic design and manufacturing technologies in relation to STEM education
3. Create high quality, modular curriculum with  optional manufacturing components
4. Enhance after school learning to involve design and manufacturing
5. Allocate federal support for pilot MEPs programs to introduce digital manufacturing to regional manufacturing companies
6. Promote published and open hardware standards and specifications
7. Develop  standard file formats for electronic blueprints design files
8. Create a database of CAD files used by government agencies
9. Mandate open geometry/source for unclassified government supplies
10. Establish an “Individual Innovation Research Program”  for DIY entrepreneurs
11. Give RFP priority to rural manufacturers that use personal manufacturing
12. Establish an IP “Safe Harbor” for aggregators and one-off producers
13. Explore micropatents as a smaller, simpler, and more agile unit of intellectual property
14. Re-visit consumer safety regulations for personally-fabricated products
15. Introduce a more granular definition of a “small” manufacturing business
16. Pass the National Fab Lab Network Act of 2010, HR 6003
17. “Clean company” tax benefits should include efficient manufacturing
18. Offer a tax break for personal manufacturing businesses on raw materials

19. Fund a Department of Education study on personal manufacturing in STEM education
20. Learn more about user-led product design

Download the entire paper.

Lipson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and computer science, and Kurman, of Triple Helix Innovation, make the case for strong government support of such digital fabrication technologies as the authors of a report commissioned by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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  1. John Ross

    “A chicken in every pot, and a 3d Printer in every workshop.”


  2. Matt Joyce

    Design is innovation.
    Innovation is productivity.
    Productivity is economy.

    Makes a hell of a lot of sense to me. If we intend to remain competitive in the global market place, we need every kid on the planet familiar with how to make their ideas a reality. That confidence will serve to foster courage, and technical brilliance as they enter the economy. And some kids, will simply change the world.

  3. Jestin

    It’s about time America stops churning out middle managers and starts producing inventors, creators, and makers. This would be a good step.

  4. Aaron Trocola

    I’m very happy to see the potential of 3D printing being recognized in this way. Any funding given toward these goals will return immeasurable rewards for our nation and for humanity. We need to inspire the next generation of designers and engineers to create the future. We need to start right now!

  5. Matthew Stinar

    Patents are already a terrifying encumbrance to an inventor and small business person like myself. Lowering the bar for patents could flood the market with even more of these land mines. The biggest threat to small business from patents comes not from infringement, but from the cost of mounting a legal defense. Settling a patent dispute is a long and expensive process that can drive a small business into bankruptcy before it’s ever discovered that the patent wasn’t infringed or the patent is invalidated.

  6. Glenn Slingsby

    Sounds like a great time for Shapeways to be invading, er, opening shop, in the US!

    Oh, and #10 sounds good to me: Mr Obama, I’m not an American but can I have $500,000 to develop my “Individual Innovation Research Program” ?!!


  7. Christina Westbrook

    That rocks. One thing I’m worried about after my first few months of selling is how much I might get taxed. Also, being considered a “clean company” for efficient manufacturing would be good for marketing, and the environment if enough people buy from such companies as Shapeways.

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