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NOVEL SOLUTIONS


A Generation of Makers


JILLIAN KNUERR, ASSISTANT EDITOR


is today’s manufacturing world. Creators are better equipped to do what they do best without restraints that may have held them back previously. According to Anderson, in today’s market,


M


rather than applying for numerous patents and selling a new creation to a company that agrees to then manufacture it, “makers” can utilize end- less online resources to design and create new products on a small scale, avoiding the manufac- turing middle man. Anderson takes his readers on a journey his


grandfather took to design and produce an auto- matic sprinkler system at a time before computers, design programs and desktop printers were used in the home. T ough he could construct prototypes in his own garage, creating mass numbers of the product required fi nding a manufacturer to license, produce and sell it. In today’s market, open-source design and


3D printing capabilities bring manufacturing to the fingertips of, well, everyone. Anything and everything can be created in today’s do-it- yourself culture, but entrepreneurs don’t have to do it all themselves. The Internet offers various forums, chat rooms and communities. With an idea but no thought on how or where to begin, they can start a thread, discussion or group and watch as responses pour in, creating an online brainstorm session. In short, anyone with an idea to improve on a


product or create something new is presented with a plethora of easy-to-fi nd and accessible resources. And, in the world of metalcasting, this could mean an influx of customers that started with an idea of a small-scale production. Maybe their creation will hit it big and require quicker, higher-volume production. This, perhaps, is another example of the need to educate the non-manufacturing public on metalcasting because, ready or not, a generation of garage-tinkering makers are making their way into the vast world of manufacturing.


44 | MODERN CASTING December 2012


akers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson, takes readers through a new wave of creation that


ABRIDGED


Relevance to Metalcasters Technical Diffi culty Self-Help Fluff Profi t Booster


“T e beauty of the web is that it democratized the tools both of


invention and production. Anyone with an idea for a service can turn it into a product … maybe lots of people will notice and like it, or maybe they won’t. Maybe there will be a business model attached, or maybe there won’t.”


Metalcasters’ Translation: Today’s world off ers many outlets for creativity to turn into something real. Anyone with access to a computer and the Internet can create, thus becoming a “maker.” Anderson predicts this as a revolution to the manufacturing world as we know it today, allowing products to go into production without following any sort of business model along the way. While the beginning processes and models are revolutionizing, at the end of the day, needs for high production volumes will lead creators to metalcasters. Even in the case of small production numbers, metalcasters off er a valuable means of manufacturing for the right product.


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