Image courtesy of BBC

Are we going to “print” our own parts and hardware from home soon? “Within a decade” says the CEO of EADS U.K as he shows this bicycle made of a new nylon-based material. The bicycle was “printed” with a 3D printer. But this is not any type of nylon: originally in a power form, it is melted with other materials by a laser to end up in a solid form that is light and as strong as steel.

The principle itself is not new: we’ve seen similar 3D printers that use the same concept – except that none could previously produce a material that strong. It was all for prototyping relatively fragile models. Now, we can build “final products” with this.

This could radically change the way we consume: instead of buying a part, you could buy the intellectual property and basically the right to manufacture it yourself. This could change how entire segments of the manufacturing world works. But what I find the most interesting is that -in time- everyone will be able to develop objects and sell design in very much the same way than “apps” are sold in various App Stores. This would unleash a manufacturing creativity never seen before.

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