Why People Will Power the 3D Printing Revolution

"People are going to come up with stuff that we never thought about," says MakerBot's lead engineer Anthony Moschella.

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Imagine being able to design and create nearly anything in your living room, then sharing that product with the world. Makerbot Industries and its Director of Product, Anthony Moschella, know how to do just that.

"I make something new every day, and that's an amazing feeling," Moschella attests.

Together, Makerbot and Moschella are turning the concept of do-it-yourself manufacturing into a reality for about the same cost as a new refrigerator. A growing number of people are already aware of three-dimensional printing's raw potential. And those individuals are increasingly utilizing Makerbot technology to produce whatever products they can functionally conceive, beginning a real manufacturing revolution in their own homes. 

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Makerbot's flagship product, the Replicator 2 (left), molds a type of environmentally friendly bioplastic called PLA according to designs created on nearly any computer using Makerbot's software. Open-source collaboration among the 13,000-plus people who own and operate these machines defines the design process; Thingiverse, Makerbot's own digital collaboration clearinghouse, offers tens of thousands of designs that anyone can download, for end products ranging from the kitschy (ice cube trays and personalized collar stays) to the truly mind-blowing (powerful turbine rotaries and microscopes). As the sheer magnitude of participation indicates, Makerbot's biggest ideas is the provision of simple accessibility: by lowering the barriers to entry, Makerbot allows human creativity to flourish.

Of course, Makerbot's machines are but an early step in 3-D printing's lightning-fast but still nascent evolution--a process which, Moschella assures, will produce innovative applications in our lifetime that even two decades ago seemed little more than speculative science fiction.

"I live and breathe this stuff everyday, and I don't know what's going to come next," Moschella says. "People are going to come up with stuff that we never thought about."

Watch the full interview:

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