Printing Out the World

Printing Out the World

2019, Technology  -   4 Comments
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Ratings: 7.88/10 from 24 users.

The capabilities of three-dimensional printers have advanced rapidly in recent years. No longer limited to niche products, they are primed to transform the production of countless consumer goods. Printing Out the World examines this revolutionary phenomenon and what it might mean for industries across the world.

In Berlin, at a company called BigRep, 3D printers are being developed that can manufacture everything from home insulation to office furniture to bicycle parts. These items can be made from scratch - from the drawing board to the delivery truck - in less than 12 weeks.

The filmmakers visit another production center in Chicago, where engineers advocate for the 3D process as it could one day represent a more efficient form of production, avoid the wastefulness of overproduction, and decrease the need for costly warehouse space.

3D manufacturing is quickly assuming a greater slice of the consumer and industrial goods pie. Their products are becoming increasingly versatile. Airbus utilizes the technology to produce parts for aircraft doors, and orthopedic patients can benefit from their ability to create customized prosthetic limbs and other life-enhancing devices.

These technological advancements are constantly evolving, but they still have a series of hurdles to overcome before they can effectively take over the majority of the production and assembly market across the globe. More testing needs to be done on production materials; ideally, they need to be safer for the environment, easy to resource, and able to undergo constant recycling without suffering a degradation in quality. Engineers believe it's just a matter of time before these goals are met, however.

But experts warn of potential dangers and drawbacks associated with these innovations. In some underground circles, savvy criminals have utilized the technology to manufacture illegal firearms and other unregulated products. As with the online shopping craze, the transport of these printed materials requires more delivery trucks on the road, which in turn leads to higher levels of air pollution.

In spite of these reservations, Printing Out the World provides a largely optimistic view of these technologies. It's a fascinating look at an industry that can do much to transform the production of goods and how we consume them.

Directed by: Kristin Siebert

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4 Comments / User Reviews

  1. gustavo

    Nice generalistic overview.

  2. Devil Travels

    Plenty of room for advancement in 3D printing. Overcoming the mechanical speed problems being the main issue.
    If vapor 3D printing can be achieved, then local production will be possible.
    But, this does not mean more jobs, only more consumers. So the world economic system still needs to be revised.

  3. José DeSouza

    "We can bring factories back to Germany provided they're automated ones" (17':34'')

  4. lorraine st james

    How much energy is used for three d printing? A blind on a window does the same regarding when and where the sun is.