Everyone thinks the recent availability of 3-D printers is a great thing. Well, not everybody.
What if do-it-yourself fabricating was a ruse to allow manufacturing to be transferred from sweatshops into homes? Writing recently in Le Monde, Johan Soderberg reflects on the positive and negative implication of this emerging technology: “Recently, electronic machines capable of producing objects, functioning as three-dimensional printers are available to the general public. They arouse enthusiasm in a vanguard that sees the seeds of a new industrial revolution. But supporters of these DIY tools technology often forget the story that they were born.
“It would be the industrial revolution of the twenty-first century: what previously had to be purchased in store may now be made at home using tools such as a laser cutter, a 3D printer, a CNC milling machine, etc … These machines all follow the same principle technological guide the movements of a mechanical device with software. The most famous of them function as printers, but in three dimensions: passage after passage, a nozzle moves in three axes and superimposes layers of material (usually a synthetic resin) following a model scanned until to the desired volume level. The door handle on the bike, objects and products is increasing.
“Although this technology creates an abundance of small creative businesses, its development is essentially the work of amateurs, who define themselves as makers. Rooted in the free software world, they apply their values and practices of production mechanisms. For the most radical of them, reclaiming popular tools pave the way for a ” democratization “of industrial production, with in line of sight, the abolition of the consumer society. Others hope to reduce labor costs and thus make obsolete the relocation of industrial production to the Third World.”
For complete story, see: http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2013/01/SODERBERG/48629