One application is to the so-called Third World. Solar power is booming in Africa. If your village is 1,000 miles from a Walmart, just hook a 3-D printer up and make any replacement part for the essential item(s) you need. The same concept works just as well for a colony on Mars.
This requires sturdier construction material. Instead of spraying plastic that hardens into a 3-D shape, future printers might use a laser to fuse a super tough ceramic. Current ceramics can already be made as tough as steel. Raw material would be sold and mailed direct to the consumer for printing.
This also requires someone to iron out the proprietary rights. A sort of catalog might evolve where one could purchase the design of an entire item for downloading, a "Netflix for nuts and bolts". The specs for any item in a hardware store would probably be available at no cost as GP items.
Anyone who has purchased something innocently labeled "some assembly required" may see the obvious problem with printing a Learjet or Ferrari. However, in the not too distant future, it may be possible to first print a robotic arm that would then correctly assemble anything else that was printed.
Of course, evil minds may print an IED, or something even worse. Terror groups have used trucks, bombs and dinnerware. I'm still waiting for a criminal gang to hit a jewelry store with a squadron of weaponized drones and flying away with a kilo of diamond rings. Hopefully, 3-D printing and automation will grant endless materialism to a New World socialist paradise (blah, blah, blah).
< Message edited by Poopyhead -- 8/4/2016 1:26:18 PM >
Astrologers believe that your future is determined on the day that you are born.
Warriors know that your future is determined on the day that your enemy dies.