Ep 42 – On 3D Printing and Mass Customization – with Masahiko Inada & Yasuhide Yokoi

masa inada & yasu yokoiIn the 15th century, Gutenberg changed the world by bringing 2D printing to life with the printing press. Today, 3D printing is about to shake the economy with the same order of magnitude. From automotive to medicine, the technology will impact a wide range of industries with applications looking like science fiction today.

To talk about it, I was pleased to sit with Masahiko Inada, founder of Kabuku and Yasuhide Yokoi, working with him as an industrial designer. They started explaining to me how the expiration of a patent in 2009 led to the recent acceleration of 3D printing capabilities and a drop in prices.

We discuss about the change of paradigm that is about to happen in the global economy, shifting from mass production to mass customization. That is, an economy where anyone will be able to consume products specifically tailored to their own taste. No more one-size-fit all for customers and no more inventories for companies. It’s a win-win model which is just getting started.

Kabuku is working on various projects, including Rinkak, Asia’s larget marketplace of 3D printed objects. It provides a framework for users to create their own products. They can simply upload their data, and Kabuku makes and sell them on demand.

In this episode Masa and Yasu, show us what is possible today and what the future applications will be. From self-building bridges to order-made medical prostheses, the future is actually closer than you think it is. According to them, there will be 3D printing services available at your nearby convenient store in less than 5 years. And this is just the tip of this massive iceberg. From printed food to printed organs, the only limit will be your imagination.

Questions: What sector will be disrupted the most by 3D printing? What applications are you most excited about? (reply in the comments)

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  • (0:23) Introduction of Masa & Yasu
  • (1:37) Presentation of Kabuku activities
  • (3:34) Price decrease trigger
  • (6:06) On-demand making and selling
  • (8:24) Materials: what’s possible?
  • (9:11) Creating a 3D model
  • (11:31) Who are the customers?
  • (12:50) From mass production to customisation economy
  • (16:20) Who are the big players?
  • (17:57) Toyota i-ROAD project
  • (21:20) When will we see 3D printers in every home?
  • (23:24) From Food to Bio-cells printing
  • (27:05) How to get started for beginners?
  • (29:58) Main limitations today
  • (33:25) 3D printing in 10 to 20 years
  • (35:32) A 3D printed model of yourself
  • (36:54) Leading countries
  • (38:29) How accessible is 3D printing?
  • (41:51) Final words

Thanks for listening!

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