Guide Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

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Further, it is the precise nature of digital fabrication tools that gives individuals and small shops the capabilities for quality of production and capacity for volume and efficiency that allow them to be competitive like never before. Anderson has more sense.


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He appreciates that realistic digital fabrication tools include subtractive digital fab and robotic assembly methods, as well as the additive tools of 3D printing. More importantly, he focuses on the role of entrepreneurs, who will be the ones putting the technology to use in small and medium size businesses. Sure, someday we will just download a digital model and push a button for most items.

But in the near term, making it all work will take the engine of entrepreneurial energy, distributed in small shops and factories across the country.

Future Tense Presents: Chris Anderson's Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

Fundamentally, this is a book about how small business and American manufacturing can make a comeback. The book is highly tuned to the principles of kGarages.

The New Industrial Revolution from the Editor of Wired

MAKERS is a description of some of the potential of the kGarages community and network and how it may all work in a new economy. And there are, of course, many questions left un-answered. These questions relate to how the new digital fab enterprises will evolve.

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution - PDF Free Download

Can they stay small and be useful, or do we need a growth model? Most of the examples Anderson describes are businesses which have developed a high degree of specialization and expertise, using long-tail approaches to reach global markets. However, digital fab tools also empower more general fabrication capabilities which may serve local markets and distributed manufacturing approaches — making stuff where it is needed.


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  • As transportation costs increase, fabbing locally with locally available materials becomes increasingly competitive. The third question is the big one. How much work will there actually be, and what will be the nature of these jobs? No one realistically expects all these jobs to come back. In Makers , Anderson offers a vision of the newest manufacturing technology — in the form of 3-D printers that will, essentially, enable anyone to make anything — and how it will radically democratize the industrial economy.

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    But with affordable the hardware of 3-D printers and an abundance of open source design algorithms, he says of this brave new economy, anyone can become Henry Ford. Anderson begins Makers with the story of his maternal grandfather, a Swiss immigrant machinist called Fred Hauser, an industrial inventor but not, Anderson regrets, an entrepreneur. But it took the boy and the old man a whole summer to transform the lump of metal into the crankshaft, piston, bearings, and valves necessary to make the engine.

    Fast-forward forty years, and Anderson introduces us to the new industrial revolution, in a moment at home in Berkeley with his two youngest daughters, who want to redecorate their dollhouse using designs borrowed from the virtual online game Sims 3. Feed it an open-source design and it will automatically manufacture that object. As Anderson predicts, the new industrial revolution of 3-D printers will revolutionize everything from the production of cars to even rockets — a sector that he thinks might eventually reinvigorate the American space program. Indeed Anderson is so enamored with what he sees coming that, he tells us, he has even co-founded his own 3-D company, a start-up called 3DRobotics, already generating millions of dollars of revenue.

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