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Haven't been on here much in a while, but just saw another article on 3D printing of buildings...a Chinese company that successfully printed 10 homes in 24 hours. I have also seen mentions of other companies worldwide, currently sprinting to bring this to the commercial world.

So just wondering...what is your opinion on the threat of this developing so quickly and affecting the trades and construction industry very soon?

I assume there will still be long term needs for maintenance, repairs, additions etc...but if this takes off, does anyone else see the new construction industry getting destroyed by big money companies, and many trade companies and workers only finding success in existing work? In my mind, I don't know how there wouldn't be an astronomical drop in employment in the industry if new work gets replaced by machines...
 

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Haven't been on here much in a while, but just saw another article on 3D printing of buildings...a Chinese company that successfully printed 10 homes in 24 hours. I have also seen mentions of other companies worldwide, currently sprinting to bring this to the commercial world.
While impressive, it doesn't mean they will replace the market. Look at how slowly solar power is taking off. This is because there are a good number of factors involved in it, so the same will apply to 3D printers.

3D printers have been around for a long time and they are just now starting to take off. A 3D printer for your own personal use would cost you $500 for a budget one, 2k-3k for a decent one, and a good bit of programming knowledge. Then you have to know how to fabricate replacement parts, you have to know how to troubleshoot the thing to correct issues, and so on.

So just wondering...what is your opinion on the threat of this developing so quickly and affecting the trades and construction industry very soon?
It's not as much of a threat as you would think. These things are complicated and expensive. Even if they start to take off, they will need a team of specialized people to maintain and repair them. I would say these things are at least 10-15 years away from even starting to get a hold on the market, if not longer..

I assume there will still be long term needs for maintenance, repairs, additions etc...but if this takes off, does anyone else see the new construction industry getting destroyed by big money companies, and many trade companies and workers only finding success in existing work? In my mind, I don't know how there wouldn't be an astronomical drop in employment in the industry if new work gets replaced by machines...
I don't see that happening because these are not cheap. The printers themselves are expensive, the materials are expensive, and so on.

Let me put another industry that had a similar issue, the PLC industry. People have been predicting for decades that computers are going to replace PLCs, but I still see PLCs every single day. Sure, it is coming to a place where computers and PLCs are sort of merging, but PLCs are almost always going to have a place in the market, at least in my lifetime. People were saying that it was pointless to learn how to program PLCs as computers were just going to replace them 20 years ago, but here we are. PLCs are still in nearly every factory in the world.

Sure, 3D printers may change things, but it will be a slow change.
 

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I would beg to differ I suppose, based on what I've read and researched about it. Yes, the printers are not cheap, in terms of being a "printer," but in truth, from what I've read, you are completely wrong about the material costs involved.

And considering the fact that the printers themselves eliminate almost all physical labor in the construction (approximately 40-70% of costs for the various industries?), they are predicting that not only will they be able to produce homes and buildings at an incredible rate, but at an incredible depreciation in costs. Also noted by one writer, the machines themselves will be able to mass produce both cookie cutter homes AND unique homes with extreme precision.

Also, as far as timeframe, I find it hard to believe that you think in today's world that big money companies won't be jumping on this ASAP. I am not familiar with PLCs etc, so I don't necessarily relate to your example, but I think the automation of the manufacturing industries over the past 10-20-30 years is a foretelling example. And things are only being brought to reality faster every year. I believe your 10-15 year expectancy for this to become reality may be a little extreme. Perhaps for large commercial and industrial printing yes, but I see companies trying to make this a residential reality in the next 5 years even.

And let's face it, money wins every time. If they can build these machines, cut out so much labor costs, and then sell the homes/buildings for much cheaper than current but still with plenty of room to markup for major profits, I see this turning into a market slide for skilled labor in the near future.

Just my opinion. But I posted the question hoping for good, intelligent arguments and welcome others to express their opinions.

In the end, you may be right and I may be wrong.
 

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I've been following the 3D printing stuff for a while. This as a seriously distrutive technology, I beleive it is going to KILL the manifacuting industory, or at least revolutionize. i wouldn't be surprised to find in 5-10 years, every job site has a Printer or 2 on site, as common as a Xerox in an office. We are still working on the metalergy, Imagine wire that print itself as you run it. No waste.


This is one of several things that drove me researching an EW career in the first place. There are instructions to build and wire your own printer from home! A good electrician or millwright might have a job installing central 3D printing into houses and businesses in a few years!
 

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And considering the fact that the printers themselves eliminate almost all physical labor in the construction (approximately 40-70% of costs for the various industries?), they are predicting that not only will they be able to produce homes and buildings at an incredible rate, but at an incredible depreciation in costs. Also noted by one writer, the machines themselves will be able to mass produce both cookie cutter homes AND unique homes with extreme precision.
Well, they claim it but I am waiting to see it happen. I'm still waiting for Solar Panels to kill the power companies, I am still waiting on PLCs to become extinct, I am still waiting for computers to replace all fast food workers, and so on.

Also, as far as timeframe, I find it hard to believe that you think in today's world that big money companies won't be jumping on this ASAP.
The ones that can afford it will jump in on the research, others will wait to see where this goes. It's still early to be investing hundreds of millions of dollars in this technology.

And let's face it, money wins every time. If they can build these machines, cut out so much labor costs, and then sell the homes/buildings for much cheaper than current but still with plenty of room to markup for major profits, I see this turning into a market slide for skilled labor in the near future.
It's possible but I don't view it as likely. I can see new home construction taking a hit with this technology but I stand by my time frame of 10 to 15 years before it's anything resembling a standard, if not longer.

3D printing isn't anything new, it's been around for a very long time, but it's just now being utilized on a large scale. That's why I am skeptical on thinking it will revolutionize the industry in a matter of years.

Down the road I do believe it will change things. There may be a time where every home is produced by 3D printing.
 

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We have been using 3D printing for about 3 years now and have added a few more over that time period, it has limitations for sure but has mostly emilinated our need to outsource small run manufacturing jobs.
 

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We have been using 3D printing for about 3 years now and have added a few more over that time period, it has limitations for sure but has mostly emilinated our need to outsource small run manufacturing jobs.
Yea man I am excited about eventually investing in one for work to manufacture parts myself instead of buying them.
 

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Here's what I think will happen.

In 5 yrs, the most successful 3D operations will be farms. Large companies with 10's of thousands of printers and support staff to fit most small business needs.

Personal ones will be a fad for most. The better off will have them for novelties. The cost of maintenance and raw materials will be cost prohibitive for most.
 

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What kind of parts? LIke you said, the raw materials can be expensive.
Plugs for sensors are the first thing that comes to mind. You could make custom PCBs with them easily too. I can also make small plastic parts that sometimes break when I am taking apart an instrument I am not familiar with to troubleshoot.

If you are handy with electronics, you can build your own printer for 500 dollars, but honestly if you want a good one you're going to have to invest so I want my work to invest in this for me.
 

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I've been following the 3D printing stuff for a while. This as a seriously distrutive technology, I beleive it is going to KILL the manifacuting industory, or at least revolutionize. i wouldn't be surprised to find in 5-10 years, every job site has a Printer or 2 on site, as common as a Xerox in an office....
That's pretty much where I am.

I look at the incredible strides that computing power and hardware has made in 20 years, now take the same curve and apply it to a technology as attractive as 3D printing.

I really think that there will be a huge market for "3D Printable Plans" for everyday items and devices that are comprised mostly of plastics.

And if they ever figure out how to use other materials like copper or semiconductors, then the sky is the limit. It will almost be the culmination of the Ultimate American Fantasy where you can push a button and a machine spits out whatever you can dream up.
 

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3D printers that work with metal have already been made...
Holy crap, exactly.

I feel sort of like one of those people sitting there at the dawn of aviation predicting that we'll all be flying around in our own personal hovercrafts in 30 years, but I sincerely see no significant technical hurdles that would prevent these things from producing complex technology in-house.

Maybe the cost of raw materials would end up being prohibitive? I don't know.
 

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Well the printers are complicated and the materials are not exactly cheap. Your average Joe is not going to be able to build and operate one of these things.

That said, I agree. We're witnessing the start of a world changing event. 3D printers are going to revolutionize the world, eventually. I just don't see it happening in the next 5 years, but I do see it happening.

There may come a time where you don't go to the store. Whenever you want to buy something you buy the schematics for it and your 3D printer makes it for you.

They are experimenting with 3D printers that produce synthetic food too. Think about it, the reason we eat is to get nutrients, where they come from can be flexible.
 

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I'd like to see that article, I can only imagine that they did not 3D print 10 HOUSES, they 3D printed COMPONENTS for the houses, and the 24 hours was not for the ASSEMBLY of those components.

Either that, or we have to consider what the Chinese call a "home"!


"Tiny rooms, called "capsules", which measure just 7ft 10in long, 6ft 6in tall and 4ft wide, are now being offered on the outskirts of Beijing for as little as $30 a month. "
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