3D Printing and the Products of Tomorrow

We are in the midst of a new age of industrialization that breaks with traditions that have existed for centuries. Until recently, the primary aim of manufacturing was mass production or making as many copies of a product as cheaply as possible.

As noted in this post, now individual entrepreneurs, inventors and makers have the ability to manufacture objects on their own. The blurring lines between individuals and manufacturers are due to the reduction of capital requirements, such as the increasing availability and affordability of 3D printers and software needed to model objects.

Fortune’s latest issue features a special section on 3D printing, and every day we see inspiring stories about how the maker community is applying 3D printing to produce amazing things.

3D printing clearly has wider implications beyond individuals too. For instance, it’s contributing to U.S. manufacturing companies bringing some sectors of production back in a trend called “onshoring.” Jordan Brandt, manufacturing futurist at Autodesk, recently shared his views on this subject.

Tomorrow’s products will come to life in dramatically different ways, fueled by advances in technology and an increased focus on the individual. Manufacturing has become personal, and it’s evident in all kinds of mass media. Take the launch this month of Motorola’s Moto X—consumers get to design their own dream phone choosing from 2,000 combinations online.


In this new world where the connected customer is at the center, how manufacturers respond and adapt will separate the winners from the losers. Hear first-hand from the product designers who are succeeding at the forefront of this change at Autodesk University 2013. To learn more, visit