3D Printing and the 21st Century Blacksmith: A Metaphor for the Future


What follows is a re-posting of the May 8, 2013 post by the communications agency Sparks&Honey found on the blog “Amped,” sponsored by “Big Think.”

Yeah, I know: those names…            **wistful smile**

I can’t say I altogether embrace the disdain these otherwise erudite folks have for delicate clarity of expression, but the overarching concepts under discussion below may be considered license, at least for now…

Will these changes actually come to pass?  Will our culture (not to mention our economy and our ecology) support them?  Who can be certain?

In the meantime, these folks certainly dream superbly…



Before the explosion of the auto industry, there was the local blacksmith. They were charged with forging custom horseshoes to protect the hooves of the best transportation available to man at that time.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and we may see a modern version of the blacksmith in many neighborhoods across the world. Except this time, the “blacksmith” is a skilled designer/3-D Printer with highly developed skills in CAD design who is able to help locals prototype and create custom products that they concept for various uses.

3-D Printing is not a burgeoning fad; it will change engineering, architecture, R&D, manufacturing, medicine and even marketing. It could also usher in a new era of product development and significantly cut the time of concept to market. Fast business becomes faster with 3-D Printing at the core. To be able to create, tweak and fabricate a part, model, or even an item of clothing on the spot is now reality.

Additive Manufacturing

We have moved from reductive manufacturing to additive manufacturing. This is revolutionary and drives the cost of manufacturing complexity to zero

Instead of stamping out parts, or chassis, 3-D printing is all additive, the technology “prints” material and formulates from nothing, the material is added on, particle by particle.

How is 3-D printing currently being used?

It can be used for rapid prototyping new products or printing toys, household products and even Motorcycles.

Why should I care?

If you are in manufacturing, 3-D printing can lessen your development costs and make experimenting, and prototyping faster and cheaper.

If you are in marketing, 3-D printing broadens your customization pallet, giving marketers the ability to create custom premiums, products, and 3-D marketing collateral.

If you are a maker/crafter, 3-D printing is one of the greatest tools at your disposal, enabling small-scale production of whatever your design and maker skills can conjure.

Simply put, 3-D printing is a game changer and it will have a profound impact on many sectors within the next few years.

sparks & honey is a next generation agency that helps brands synchronize with culture. Follow us on Twitter at @sparksandhoney to stay up to date on the latest high energy trends.

Here’s the link if you care to see the original post:



About jaypochapin

Married adult human male, father, brother, son, writer, voiceover actor and humorist. Frequently funny, sometimes snarky, occasionally profound. Beatles, Stones, Who, Python, Firesign Theatre, Shakespeare, Bogart/Bacall, Marx Brothers, Alice Cooper and more besides. Have worked as many things: traffic reporter, disc jockey, newscaster, interviewer, producer, copywriter, voice over talent, teacher, emcee, housekeeper, janitor, uniformed security officer, bagel baker's assistant and more, but don't let the uniform fool you, baby! I ... AM ... THE WRITER!

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