4 ways 3D printing will impact the office

Posted on Jul 2 2014 - 12:52am by Peter Millikin

from the sketch to finished productWith the first commercial 3D printer recently becoming available (and affordable) recently, and with the deluge of articles just like this one capturing our interests and imaginations for the past year or two.

The novelty of 3D printing has almost worn off by now despite the fact the great majority of us have never made use of one or even considered the long-term implications in every field.

Any office, being that the business world endeavours always to keep up with the most up-to-date technology, usually mirrors the cutting edge of invention in its resources. You may be able to imagine the manner in which the advent of 3D printing will affect everyday office life, but just in case you can’t we have listed some of the more curious and thought-provoking notions…

1. BETTER TECHNOLOGY AVAILABLE

If your office relies on technology then imagine the way in which it’ll benefit from having a printer that can print off each individual component for a burgeoning technology. It mightn’t perhaps be there yet, but when the finesse achievable reaches the right level (which should be in the next few years) you’ll be able to print off not only all the parts, but the circuit-boards as well!

2. QUICKER DESIGN PROCESS

Prototypes will become much quicker and easier to both design and test. The amount of time between the idea and the physical prototype will be rendered almost indecipherable in business-time. As well as there being a specialist in CAD/CAM undoubtedly employed at your place of work, it’s feasible that most employees there will have a grasp of some strength on the design process. That’ll mean that (with cloud-computing too) 3D models and files can be shared and edited instantly.

3. STOCK BECOMES MORE DIFFICULT TO MANAGE

Right now offices need only consider ink cartridges and paper stock and the like, but a disadvantage is that stock will doubtlessly be slightly more difficult to manage; the materials necessary for 3D printing are limited only to resin, ceramics, and plastics now- but with gold, glass, and types of metal set to become commercially available- there will be a whole extra chapter in the paperwork necessary for stock-take and maintenance of resources.

4. THE IMMINENT ARRIVAL OF THE HOLODECK?

With 3D displays, and 3D files, and 3D design expertise being fairly commonplace as a result of 3D printing- it is only a matter of years before hologram display technology becomes accessible for high-end businesses. That will mean potentially 3D holograph conference calls, and even sharing 3D files in real time with holograms of colleagues in completely separate rooms, buildings, or continents.

There’s no question that 3D printing will lead on to some massive changes in both the office and the entire world, but we must not be daunted by the prospect. There will have been a time when everybody presumed that the wireless phone was going to be a novelty fad, or that the internet had no purpose in the home, but it is through people being responsive and open to technological advancement that countless changes for the better can begin to take place.

What are your thoughts about “Ways 3D printing will impact the office”?

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  • Does your office have a 3D printer?
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Read about the Author

Peter has received many accreditation's including many from the Times Online. As founder of You Could Save (2005) and What Stationers (2007) Peter regularly helps consumers and national organisation ‘save money’. He believes that the only successful way to bring people together online is to provide an open marketplace where people can all work together in a friendly, unbiased environment. You can contact Peter Millikin either through his Google+ account or via his websites.

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