When we talk about the changes that the Web and technology has brought to our world most people will automatically think of things like the music industry, newspapers and soon the book industry.
There is however another change coming that will dwarf anything that has happened before. This change is already starting to happen but its snowballing effect is still in its early days.
You can see an inkling of what is happening in hackerspaces around the world and in the blooming world of Maker Faires. It is what Chris Anderson refers to as the second industrial age but one that is being governed by individuals rather than large manufacturing corporations.
With the constantly lowering of the cost of entry individuals can now own their own 3D printers that when combined with open sourced 3D modelling software allows them to do in a day what would take large manufacturers month or years to get approved and made.
Out of the box, the MakerBot produces plastic parts from digital files. Want a certain gear right now? Download a design and print it out yourself. Want to modify an object you already have? Scan it (a researcher at the University of Cambridge has developed a technology that will allow you to create a 3-D file by rotating the object in front of your webcam), tweak the bits you want to change with the free SketchUp software from Google, and load it into the ReplicatorG app. Within minutes, you have a whole new physical object: a rip, mix, and burn of atoms.
Other tools offer additional tricks. The $18,000 ShopBot PRSalpha can work door-sized pieces of wood. Or buy a smaller kit for $1,500 at buildyourcnc.com. If metal is your material, try a CNC mill for around $2,000. Or, if you’re more into electronics, use the free CadSoft Eagle software to create your own circuit boards, then upload the file to have it fabbed in a few days at places like Advanced Circuits.
So, too, for CNC laser cutters, plasma cutters, water-jet cutters, and lathes. You can make anything from fine jewelry to car chassis this way, and tens of thousands of people are doing just that. We’ve already seen this DIY creation movement boom around such simple platforms as T-shirts and coffee mugs, then expand into handcrafting at Etsy (which did about $200 million in sales last year). Now it’s moving to more complex platforms — like 3-D models and plastic fabrication — and open source electronics hardware like the pioneering Arduino project.
Source: Wired Online
No longer are we restricted to products that large companies feel are profitable for them to develop, make and market. Now we can create the goods we need and if the interest in them is there market them on a global scale never before seen.
There is a change coming that will forever change the products we buy and use on a daily basis. It is a change that will make what is happening in the music business, the book business, and news businesses seem like a walk in the park. Where once the Industrial Revolution meant the creation of large companies and the automation on man this new Industrial Revolution will totally reset how we think of crating and manufacturing of goods. It is no longer about huge companies but rather about the human involvement.
While the changes that came before this new Industrial Revolution might have been radical this change will literally be tectonic.
Should be interesting.