Recently, I attended an “Additive Manufacturing” conference in Lewiston. It was focused on industrial applications for 3d printing, as applied to manufacturing businesses. One topic was called “What’s Real, What’s Not, What’s Next”. It spoke to much that this article says.
I think the prediction that “3d printing will disrupt the 12 trillion manufacturing industry” is a bit overwrought, even premature. And it’s also nonsense to say, “We’re preparing kids for jobs in 3d printing,” because there aren’t that many jobs running 3d printers, and those aren’t really great careers.
But what is great, what is happening, and what we ARE preparing students for is this: careers where they design things. The 3d printing revolution is actually a design revolution. Because it allows all sorts of people to design something that fits a niche need and have it pop out of a machine fully formed. Rapid iteration and customization will, in fact, change the way we manufacture things.