Printing Technologies Change the World

As with most technologies it is the limitation of human imagination, the need to overcome conventionalism and fend off those with a vested financial interests in doing it the old way, that often holds back new technologies.

There is no finer example in modern times of a breakthrough technology than the arpanet (the precursor to the Internet), the hyperlink, and the browser working in tandem to give us the Internet. (The initial development was in fact given a governmental shove by Al Gore.)

In the earlier times it was the invention of the Gutenberg press and its ability to mass produce the Bible that spelled the end of the dominance of the "priest". Or the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 that influenced the development of democracy.

Now in the 21st century we have two "new" printing technologies that are revolutionizing not only the printed word, but the manufacturing process.

The 3D Printing Manufacturing Revolution

The first "new" printing technology we shall look at is the 3D printer. "3D printing" is using a "material printer" to create three dimensional objects from digital files. It is not too different from printing images on paper one layer at a time. However, instead of ink, the object is created by laying down successive layers of material. There has been a large growth in the sale of 3D printers in the last 10 years and the price has come down substantially.

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3d Printing of a Scaled-Down Statue


The Future of 3D Printing (50 minutes)


Print me a Stradivarius. How a new manufacturing technology will change the world.

The Economist

The industrial revolution of the late 18th century made possible the mass production of goods, thereby creating economies of scale which changed the economy — and society — in ways that nobody could have imagined at the time.

Now a new manufacturing technology has emerged which does the opposite. Three-dimensional printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands and thus undermines economies of scale.

Products are thus built up by progressively adding material, one layer at a time: hence the technology’s other name, additive manufacturing.

It may have as profound an impact on the world as the coming of the factory did.

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The printed world. Three-dimensional printing from digital designs will transform manufacturing and allow more people to start making things.

The Economist

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Print On Demand Publishing

Printing Technologies Change the World: print on demandAnother "new technology" is "print on demand" or the modern Gutenberg press. A big fancy collating copy machine fed by digital files, spits out the finished book amongst grunts, and groans, and shivers. Another is the "manufacturing" of an ebook straight to the Amazon or Barnes and Noble marketplace in a flash. Traditional publishers must be shaking in their boots as authors and agents can now go from the authors "pen" to the reader in a blink of the eye.

The Economist

Just press print. The boom in printing on demand. New technology promises to prolong the life of the book

ESPRESSO might seem an odd name for a bookmaking machine. But the wardrobe-sized apparatus at Blackwell, a bookstore in central London, and 30 other locations worldwide can print a paperback in about the time it takes to make and drink a shot of caffeine. A black-and-white printer produces the pages; a colour one the cover; they are then glued together by a third device which sits behind Plexiglas for passers-by to admire.

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How the Velvet Revolution overturned the literary landscape

Radio Praha

pressThe Velvet Revolution was in many respects about authors and words. Of course there was the playwright dissident himself, Václav Havel, who came out of the shadows where he was put by the censors and persecution to lead the revolution that overthrew Communism.

Havel and other dissident writers were outside the state-controlled publishing system and had to rely on publication of their works abroad by publishing houses mostly run by exiled Czechs or at home as illegal samizdat versions.

Jan Kanzelsberger Jr.Jan Kanzelsberger Jr. So it was no surprise that the impact of the revolution in the publishing and the literary world was fast and far reaching.

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Publishing through Print-On-Demand


About the Author

jenningsRobert Jennings is co-publisher of with his wife Marie T Russell. He attended the University of Florida, Southern Technical Institute, and the University of Central Florida with studies in real estate, urban development, finance, architectural engineering, and elementary education. He was a member of the US Marine Corps and The US Army having commanded a field artillery battery in Germany. He worked in real estate finance, construction and development for 25 years before starting in 1996.

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