The Future of Decentralization: 3D Printing
re-upload of an article from 5am0036.medium.com.
The issue of centralization has plagued us for decades over centuries. From kings to presidents, the governance of the people has always been under a central authority. Since the early late 1990s huge steps forward in tech, have been slowly giving power back to the people. From books to blogs, from fiat to Bitcoin, and now from factories to 3D printing.
In 2005, a professor named Dr. Adrian Bowyer started a project, this project being named “RepRap”. Aimed at developing a low-cost 3D printer that can print most of its own components, a “replicating rapid prototyper”. He at the time, did not know that his small project would cause a revolution in manufacturing. RepRap finally allowed regular people and hobbyists to tinker with additive manufacturing. For the first time in history, people could create complicated and complex designs, right at home!
You may be confused at why this is so important, why should we care about manufacturing at home: - Firstly, it can be cheaper than buying a piece of plastic injection molded in China, then flying half-way around the world to the US. - Secondly, it is extremely ecologically friendly, I can buy a roll of plastic once, then print infinitely more products than could have been shipped to me on oil-guzzling tankers. - Lastly, the supply chain in a decentralized world will be much more resilient, a pandemic or war would have far less an effect on us, you can print whatever you need at home.
To begin to decentralize our world further, I think we must focus on three core topics: Information, currency, and manufacturing, on then may we live in a truly free world.
If you’re looking for a good 3D printer I would recommend the Ender 3 Pro for the tinkerers or the Prusa i3 mk3 for those who want something that “just works”.
3D printers do have a few controversies though, namely 3D printed firearms. This topic is a highly politicized issue especially in the United States, if you are interested in seeing a good video on it you can check it out here: youtu.be=C4dBuPJ9p7A.