Week 1 Reflection

For people that keep up with technology trends, 3D printing is the new up and coming piece of technology that has “the potential to disrupt many different industries”. Admittedly, as I started my very first day of class, I had no idea what this amounted to. As I entered the MakerLab, it was really easy for me to think about how cool the old MakerBots and new Ultimaker 3D printers looked. In reality, I had no idea just how disruptive this technology could be.

My initial interest in this class stemmed from the fact that the MakerLab was touted as the first 3D printing lab in a business school. I began to think about why it was so unique that there were printers in a business school—was it really that unique? The more I thought about it, the more curious I became, and I began to sneak peeks at the MakerLab on the 3rd floor of the BIF. I was really excited when I found out I was accepted for the 3D printing class—Badm 395 DMS.

Immediately on the first day, we started off the class with guest speaker John Hornick, author of 3D Printing Will Rock the World and IP lawyer at Finnegan. Because I had almost no knowledge about 3D printing, I was fascinated (and excited) to learn that the many types of 3D printing. I always thought there was just one type. I had never even considered that there would be so many varieties that you could fuse two materials together, layer by layer, Another fact I learned was that the technology had already been around for a long time. In a way, adding material layer by layer is a really easy concept to grasp. It seems surprisingly to me that this technology hasn’t already been capitalized upon, at least not to the mainstream consumers. The last piece that I thought was the most significant was the idea that 3D printing had the ability to render manufacturing, an entire industry, obsolete. As a supply chain management major, how much more relevant can 3D printing get? I was completely fascinated by all the information I learned on just the first day and was incredibly excited to see that we would have the opportunity to design and print our own objects as well.

As I left my first day, I realized there was so much more I wanted to learn. Where did this or this raw material come from and what variant of printer would I need? What businesses could potentially adopt this technology? What are the legal and illegal implications for printing items at home? How are brand names affected by this technology? I’m eager to see if any company has considered creating a 3D printing-as-a-service or on-demand 3D printing service firm. Now that I have a much better perspective of the effect that 3D printing has in the world, I can’t wait to see what this semester has to offer.

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