One 3D Printer Per Engineer, Per Company, Per Maker & Per Child – In Other Words, Per Everybody

More than a decade ago, the non-profit initiative “One Laptop A Child” was established with the goal of transforming education in general but also specifically promoting computer literacy as a mainstream part of education for children around the world.

Have all the goals of this initiative been met so far? We don’t have a definitive answer, but one thing is sure: the mission statement in the name of this initiative is so bold that it resonates far beyond all programs trying to design, produce, distribute and educate on millions of laptops and changing ever more lives all over the world.

To us, at FormWerk, this goal is nowadays applicable to all inevitable technological developments that impact all of our lives in so many ways (think of the internet, solar and wind power, etc.). For a lot of different technologies it is already no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ they will be ubiquitously applied. The learning curve of adoption becomes a mere function of the capability of human beings to help diffuse those new technologies into the mainstream. It is fascinating to contemplate how this feedback loop accelerates technology development and adoption even further.

Now, what does ‘a 3D printer per engineer’ mean? Like many other sectors, industrial design and the manufacturing industry are facing the new playbook of the digital age. It is a disruptive force going way beyond the well-known terms of computer-aided design (CAD) or manufacturing (CAM).

For a student engineer-to-be, a technician in a technical school or a full-fledged engineer in a company to be properly trained, hands-on experience is crucial and has to be facilitated. We strongly believe practical training should go even beyond that, reaching the younger inquisitive students aged 6-12 years old. Not only is a 3D printer a new tool in the already big toolbox an engineer should have on hand today, but it is also entire new way of transforming ideas into designs, then into iterative prototyping and finally into a running production and maintenance program.

It is our strong belief that 3D-printing-trained engineers and designers will become the central drivers of progress, elevating organizations into digital fabrication and subsequently into the overarching industry 4.0 transformation.

Certainly any CEO, university dean or school headmaster should therefore be really driven to avoid being late in establishing a 3D printer purchase-and-training program for the students, staff and clients they are responsible for. There are already numerous industry leaders reorganizing their entire international operations to the new digital reality, so the honors of early adopters have long been awarded…

With entry level 3D desktop printers priced at under €200, there is simply no excuse anymore for delaying the goal of one 3D printer per engineer, per company, per maker & per child – in other words, per everybody!