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What Will They 3D Print Next? Inside My Trip to Local Motors

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Last week, I flew my Cirrus to visit Jay Rogers and his team at Local Motors in Phoenix.

Jay showed me their plans to 3D print an entire car in just one day at the Int'l Manufacturing & Technology Show in Chicago this September. The electric drive car will be built out of carbon fiber reinforced thermo plastic (CFRP), which has a strength-to-weight ratio twice that of aluminum.

Jay's goal is a car with less than 20 parts, and a car that is massively customizable. You want one seat? Or five seats? Electric or gas drive? Instead of having Detroit decide what options you get, you can decide on everything and then hit "Print." Presto, you've got a personalized car.

If that isn't exciting enough for you, consider that in China last month, a company called WinSun Decoration Design Engineering 3D printed 10 full-sized houses in a single day.

They used a quick-drying concrete mixture composed mostly of recycled construction and waste material and pulled it off at a cost of less than $5,000 per house.

Instead of using, say, bricks and mortar, the system extrudes a mix of high-grade cement and glass fiber material and prints it, layer by layer. The printers are 105 feet by 33 feet each and can print almost any digital design that the clients request. The process is environmentally friendly, fast and nearly labor-free.

So what does that mean?

Today the manufacturing business is $10 trillion globally with a massive shipping and storage infrastructure.

I serve on the board of 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD), one of the leading companies in the industry, and I'm shocked every day by the massive innovation we're seeing in 3D printing.

We're now able to 3D print in 200 different materials, from titanium to rubber, plastic, glass, ceramic, leathers and even chocolate.

My point here is that change is coming. And 3D printing is going to be following the six D's I teach at Abundance 360:

  1. Digitized: 3D printing has digitized the entire manufacturing process.
  2. Deceptive: This field is 35 years old and has been in deceptive growth for the past 3 decades.
  3. Disruptive: The field is going from deceptive to disruptive this decade. It is driving billions of dollars.
  4. Demonetized: 3D printing will massively reduce the cost of certain products as the cost of labor is removed.
  5. Dematerialized: The technology will dematerialize storage facilities, transportation services, spare-part depots and much more.
  6. Democratized: Finally, it will democratize access to goods around the world. Even a small village in the middle of Africa with a 3D printer will have access to any good it can download. The world of the Star Trek replicator is not far away.

Mindset Matters: It's time to change your mindset. These disruptions are happening now. Rather than read about them online or watch them on TV, be proactive. Seek them out. Which products in your life could be 3D printed? Which are already being 3D printed? Where there is change, there are incredible opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Be an explorer. Ask yourself, "I wonder if I could 3D print that," and sketch it out on a napkin.

These technologies are empowering all of us to be innovators. Join the movement.

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