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One of the greatest, long-term advantages of 3D printing I see is the ability to localize manufacturing. Figure out how to print materials we can make domestically, and suddenly stop importing thousands of products.

Imagine small local factories, filled with 3D printers and robots, run by skilled workers. Such factories would be capable of manufacturing thousands of different products for the people nearby on an ad-hoc basis. This could eliminate shipping costs, reduce waste, would make recycling easier, create jobs, increase GDP, etc.




Don't forget reduced inventory cost. No need for an auto parts store to a litany of rarely-purchased plastic parts if they can be printed at will.

Customization is the early killer app, but a world opens up as the material quality and speed improve.




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