Saturday, 1 March 2014

Manufacturing 3D printer hysteria

Everyone remembers the kid in workshop tech at high school who made swords from 4x2 blocks of wood, obsessively planing it down to make it as sharp as possible... if we applied the logic of a ridiculous article in yesterday's Dom Post on 3D printers, the workshop tech should be banned.

The article went into hyperbole claiming that 3D printers were to be banned because people could use them to print guns, make drugs or even gold. Today similar claims are made in a follow up article, but thankfully with some actual industry responses.

3D printing is a huge opportunity for New Zealand. We have a small population base compared to other major manufacturing nations. We're far away from markets we export to, making our products more expensive, and we often don't have the raw materials to lower input costs either. But our population is well educated and IT literate, coupled with our can-do attitude to problems means we're well placed to make use of this technology.

If we want high-paying jobs, then embracing technologies like 3D Printing is critical. The sort of hysteria around the technology doesn't help, and the claims that we will soon see drugs and or counterfeit notes is nonsense.