Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CSJ Column: Why journalists need to pay attention to 3-D printing

I've resumed my Common Sense Journalism monthly column with some thoughts on why 3-D printing will be one of the long-term business disruptors for journalism and other advertiser-supported media.

Why you should pay attention to 3-D printing

By Doug Fisher

No. 118 for July 2013

The curiosity factor of 3-D printing has soared lately with videos of a working gun made using one of the printers. The curiosity will fade – for a while, at least – but smart media managers will keep tracking the technology's progress because it could be one of your next big business disruptors.

It's not as likely to be a direct disruptor as many other digital technologies of the past 15 years have been. But it will disrupt the business of some of your major advertisers.

The idea of "printing" three-dimensional objects is no longer a dream or even an expensive prototype. It is likely to be an accepted consumer technology within a decade.
Doctors already use 3-D printing to make replacement body parts. Formula One racing teams use it to make car parts. The federal government is putting $30 million into creating a manufacturing hub in Youngstown, Ohio.

For $99, a South Carolina company is putting kiosks at malls where you can turn your or your children's drawings into a 3-D model. Keychains and charms are also in the works, according to The State newspaper. The Center for Digital Education says the University of California-Berkeley now has a 3-D print vending machine. And a consumer-level printer can be had for about $1,300 (see for an example).

The digital age is ruthless in cutting out middlemen, as media companies are learning. And many of your advertisers are retailers, the epitome of middlemen. Read more ...

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