Guest Post: The Next Industrial Revolution

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John Aziz of Azizonomics

The Next Industrial Revolution

Large, centrally-directed systems are inherently fragile. Think of the human body; a spontaneous, unexpected blow to the head can kill an otherwise healthy creature; all the healthy cells and tissue in the legs, arms, torso and so forth killed through dependency on the brain’s functionality. Interdependent systems are only ever as strong as their weakest critical link, and very often a critical link can fail through nothing more than bad luck.

Yet the human body does not exist in isolation. Humans as a species are a decentralised network. Each individual may be in himself or herself a fragile, interdependent system, but the wider network of humanity is a robust independent system. One group of humans may die in an avalanche or drown at sea, but their death does not affect the survival of the wider population. The human genome has survived plagues, volcanoes, hurricanes, asteroid impacts and so on through its decentralisation.

In economics, such principles are also applicable. Modern, high-technology civilisation is very centralised and homogenised. Prices and availability are affected by events half way around the world; a war in the middle east, the closure of the Suez Canal or Strait of Hormuz, an earthquake in China, flooding in Thailand, or a tidal wave in Indonesia all have ramifications to global markets, simply because of the interconnectedness of globalisation. The computer I am typing this into is a complex mixture — the cumulative culmination of millions of hours of work, as well as resources and manufacturing processes across the globe. It incorporates tellurium, indium, cobalt, gallium, and manganese mined in Africa. Neodymium mined in China. Plastics forged out of Saudi Crude. Bauxite mined in Brazil. Memory manufactured in Korea, semiconductors forged in Germany, glass made in the United States. And gallons and gallons of oil to ship all the resources and components around the world, ’til they are finally assembled in China, and shipped once again around the world to the consumer. And that manufacturing process stands upon the shoulders of centuries of scientific research, and years of product development, testing, and marketing. It is a huge mesh of interdependent processes. And the disruption of any one of these processes can mean disruption for the system as a whole. The fragility of interconnection is the great hidden danger underlying our modern economic and technological paradigms.

And even if the risks of global trade disruptions do not materialise in the near-term, as the finite supply of oil dwindles in coming years, the costs of constantly shipping so much around and around the world may prove unsustainable.

It is my view that the reality of costlier oil is set over the coming years to spur a new industrial revolution — a very welcome side-effect of which will be increased social and industrial decentralisation. Looming on the horizon are technologies which can decentralise the means of production and the means of energy generation.

3D printers — machines that can assemble molecules into larger pre-designed objects are pioneering a whole new way of making things. This could well rewrite the rules of manufacturing in much the same way as the rise of personal computing discombobulated the traditional world of computing.

3D printers have existed in large-scale industry for years. But at a cost of $100,000 to $1m, few individuals could ever afford one. Fortunately, improved technology and lowered costs are making such machines more viable for home use. Industrial 3D printers now cost from just $15,000, and home versions for little more than $1,000. Obviously, there are still significant hurdles. 3D printing is still a relatively crude technology, so far incapable of producing complex finished goods. And molecular assembly still requires resources to run on — at least until the technology of molecular disassembly becomes viable, allowing for 3D printers to run on, for example, waste. But the potential for more and more individuals to gain the capacity to manufacture at home — thereby reducing dependency on oil and the global trade grid — is a huge incentive to further development. The next Apple or Microsoft could well be the company that develops and brings home-based 3D printing to the wider marketplace by making it simple and accessible and cheap.

Decentralised manufacturing goes hand-in-hand with decentralised energy generation, because manufacturing requires energy input. Microgrids are localised groupings of energy generation that can vary from city-size to individual-size. The latter is gradually becoming more and more economically viable as the costs of solar panels, wind turbines (etc) for energy generation, and lithium and graphene batteries (etc) for home energy storage fall, and efficiencies rise. Although generally connected to a larger national electricity grid, the connection can be disconnected, and a microgrid can function autonomously if the national grid were to fail (for example) as a result of natural disaster or war.

Having access to a robust and independent energy supply and home-manufacturing facilities would be very empowering for individuals and local communities and allow a higher degree of independence from governments and corporations. Home-based microgrids can allow the autonomous and decentralised powering and recharging of not just home appliances like cooking equipment, computers, 3D printers, lights, and food growing equipment, but also electric vehicles and mobile communications equipment. Home-based 3D printing can allow for autonomous and decentralised design and manufacturing of useful tools and equipment.

The choice that we face as individuals and organisations is whether or not we choose to continue to live with the costs and risks of the modern globalised mode of production, or whether we decide to invest in insulating ourselves from some of the dangers. The more individuals and organisations that invest in these technologies that allow us to create robust decentralised energy generation and production systems, the more costs should fall.

Decentralisation has allowed our species to survive and flourish through millions of years of turbulent and unpredictable history. I believe that decentralisation can allow our young civilisation to survive and flourish in the same manner.

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Colombian Gringo's picture

Visualize a world without banksters, this is what 3D printers can offer, an opportunity to disintermediate the criminal usuerer class. No need for corrupt finance, extortionate credit rates, fraudulent fiat currencies. Self sufficiency, baby. Imagine a world with ever having to look again at the ugly smug faces of the money junkies.. Yeah, bring it on.

LawsofPhysics's picture

"Self Sufficiency"?!?!   LMAFO!!!  As someone already posted below, does it print food? -  FAIL.


Of course if it printed fiat that would be great, but unfortunately illegal unless you are a central banker.

SilverTree's picture

3D printing may spell the beginning of the end for gun control

redpill's picture

3D printing decentralizes the manufacturing portion of the process, but all the raw materials steps remain, it points to increased regulation and taxation on processed commodities.  You're not going to make a handgun out of a half-eaten turkey sandwich.


EnglishMajor's picture

Solyent Green is people! It's dead people!!!

G-R-U-N-T's picture

I'd like to place an order please....May I have one Marilyn Monroe please?

Oh regional Indian's picture


Makes it sound like we'll have 3D printers printing cars in our garage before too long. Just more high-tech bull poop. 

"In 50 years, this technology will be perfected to be able to be released to the public"

We'll be sticking and stoning long before we'll be printing Lambo's in the garage.


CPL's picture

3d Printers only run as long as the oil does.


It's strange how people keep forgetting that.  3d printers are a really cool toy though.  Instructables now has a section on how to build practically anything with them.  Some guy posted a design for a laser lathe, 3d printable, lots of assembly and tuning required.


Now for those interested in buying one.  To make a tiny lathe about the size of a shoe box it cost me around 1400 Canadian.  1200 of that was the very expensive plastic pellets because they come in dffierent grades of hardness and quality.  The plastic item though will lose cohesion after three years if not sotred properly.  The corn used to make the plastic mix is bio-degradable, so that is the built in flaw.  You can buy a bag of cheap pellts for a hundred bucks to practice with.  Make wrenches, hammer, nails, what not.  But hammers will break, I've found, after about two hours of heavy use.  Wrenches will split and get ground to dust (attempt to change the oil plug on the car during an oil change).  Nothing beats steel or iron.  So consider purchasing real materials.


Again, it is a cool toy but a very expensive hobby and I would suggest learning a skill like carpentry of metal work before even touching it.  Mistakes are costly.  Measure twice cut once should be underlined to anyone buying one.  Even the free instruction sets floating around out there are suspect, so be aware that "free" retains the same weight as it does with anything else on the web. uses a fuck tonne of electricity.  About the same as an electric furance running for the same duration.  Be aware to install three phase power outlets if you are buying a USEFUL model.  Anything desktop is useless for most plans to construct anything larger than a snow globe.  I bought the small/medium one and returned it about a day later.  To get one that is useful, budget for around 13 grand.


It's like Disneyland; have fun, bring money.

dark pools of soros's picture

Which model did you grab CPL??  I used to do 3D modeling/animation waaaay back when that started with wireframes and long renderings so this rekindles that spirit

CPL's picture

For cast moulds I couldn't think of a better piece of equipment.  Competely compatible with CAD modeling.  There's an Open Source thing (I think about five minutes after they hit the market) for blender 3D and lightray.  I'm using an older version of AutoCAD LT ( I found in a discount bin ) running it under Wine with my own Ubuntu 10.04 customized build with Remastersys.


If wondering how you get your money back on these things for an expensive fuck around toy...


Comic Conventions.  Rent a space, show up with it and a running workstation with AutoCad LT and a conversion tool.  I suggest to avoid OSX and Windows on the workstation.  Too many USB transferable viruses.  I slapped linux mint 13 with Wine on an older modded workstation that I could consider disposable after the convention minus the hard drive which goes to the shredders.  

In about half an hour every one and their fellowship of nerd appears.  Everyone salivates, then break out cash along with USB sticks with stuff they need printed.  Tricorders, phasers, staff heads, pieces of phony armour, the list is endless.  ENDLESS as teh imagination of a fully grown adult with the imagination of a 14 year old Otaku and ...this is my favorite part... nearly endless cash reserves.  

Paid for in a day and about fifty pounds of pellets lighter and 4k richer.  Day two on conference, pure profit, word of mouth...line up time.  39k later.  Never do it again though.  LOL...the printer isn't "fast" so hurry up and wait and print orders and stay organised.  Get them to sign orders and pay upfront cash at the ComicCon.  Floor fees at a comicon are nothing to offer something different direct to market.  And what everyone loves.  Customized and nobody has one.  

I have to confess, if one thing that shines so bright is envy at comic conventions and I think I charged too little.

dark pools of soros's picture

it is way slow, so are you shipping people these items??  no way you print enough at the con to pay for it all

CPL's picture

FedEx is the way of it, shipments took about two weeks running it 24/7 on a batch job.  Bitcoin miners pay less attention to their systems than I did.  Couldn't take a shit wihout making sure if was rolling.

My price was determined by weight of material.  I charged by 100 gram units, mark up I'm sorry to say was embarrassingly high (cough!  in many thousands.).  Some of the stuff was heavy.  Armour chest pieces and some crazy looking Japanese steam punk staff heads with moving parts, sure it'll look cool once a little engine was put in it.  I figured I squeezed hard enough on the price I would throw in shipping and let FedEx hand me a final bill which was well under 2k.  I boxed it up and shipped it in the punch moulds or as a solid lump of well defined start trek plastic goodness.  No complaints, more requests which was followed by disappointment.  


As I mentioned.  Won't do it again.  But a pricey toy paid for itself.  Just not interested in making sure a bucket of plastic is full 24/7.  I would much rather build more interesting stuff.

Solar housing, odd sized screws for restoration project (standards prior to 1960 we're primarily guess work).  But cast a mould in an awkward joint setting and you can remanufacture the same screw the blacksmith cast 200 years ago.  My theory is they were all drunk judging by the threading done.  Like every tool I own, I find a use for it.  Screwdrivers are tooth picks.  Shears nail  


 So if any of you are planning buying one...again, if you can not use AutoCAD, program a little bit and have some physical skills like wood working...this is not the toy for you to learn how to.  Take sculpture/design or woodworking/Lathe and drafting first to understand process.  For construction models...AutoCAD.  There are tonnes of great youttube videos to teach on the subject I refer back to myself often enough.  To those without the bread to buy AutoCAD, I suggest Blender is about a million times better than AutoCAD.  But industries are built on ISO9K's and insurance.   Again, Blender tutorials are all over the place and the software is free, plus it has some fanatical followers that are so very talented and love making neat things.


Once the plastic is set, it is set.  If you mess up, you'll regret the lighter wallet.

malikai's picture


Very shrewd, very smart. And go on and admit it. There were at least two decent looking gals at the con. Probably dressed like Leia.

CPL's picture

Yup...lots of those.  But it's the Japanese get ups and the steam punk rigs some of the ladies wear.  Jesus, a sailor on shore leave would blush.  Something new in cons I've noticed.  Hot 40 year old MILFs in cosplay.  Makes a man weep just how stunning these women are.  After a certain age women can pay someone to put a +3 on their Charisma and boobs.  

It works for me.

overbet's picture

Who makes the pellets?

CPL's picture

ZPrinter, same guys that make the printer.  It was 23k for a metric tonne for mid grade pellets, but oil was 90 a barrel then.  Not sure of the costs now.  I haven't run out.  Other wise eBay to get cheap pellets to mess around with to figure out how it works.


There are a tonne of makers of the pellets on Alibaba, but there is a support contract with the equipment.  You don't just buy it.  You license it.

KK Tipton's picture

$2000 and you are up and running:

STIdeas :: Printed Flashlight mounts -

"Did a couple of prints for customized flashlight mounts for our M4's and AR-15's.  Printing stuff that you just can't find in the store makes this machine irreplaceable."

STIdeas :: Makerbot Replicator - Part 1 -
STIdeas :: Makerbot Replicator - Part 2 -


CPL's picture

2k you won't be making anything but solid, tiny pieces of plastic.


Spend the 13k and you can print an AR-15 but the force of the ammo leaving the barrel will rip it to pieces.  You could in theory print a sniper rifle...but even then, I wouldn't trust plastic to contain the explosion that occurs with a bullet.  Be careful of the offering.  Plastic is an awesome and useful material...although I suppose the Glock is entirely plastic, but the barrel is something else in them.  Only weapon that can pass through any electronic security method except frisking and visual assesment.

miro1a's picture

Glock is not entirely plastic.  Only the lower receiver is.  Everything else including the slide and barrel are made out of steel.  It will not pass through a metal detector undetected.  This is a holywood myth.

CPL's picture

...always took it as truth in it's construction.  Porcilan barrel.  Then again, bullets are metal, not like you would own one and offer people to hammer nails with it or something.  Might as well carry around two pound of jelly beans in a sock for the good an unloaded weapon offers.


Myth busted.

KK Tipton's picture

This entire post is bunk. Was not even going to reply.

"Only weapon that can pass through any electronic security method except frisking and visual assessment."

Are you ok? Did you just arrive on Earth recently? Nevermind.
Pics of your 13k machine or it doesn't exist. It does not even have a name so far.


But besides all that...people can read my original post and links and learn something.
2K is for the machine (in this article) to make nice ABS plastic parts you CANT go out and buy easily.
Replacement parts or anything else. Like plastic AR-15 mags AND the springs on
You are only limited by your imagination.

PS - There have been guns with metal LINED plastic barrels out for years.
The tech exists for *everything* already.


dark pools of soros's picture

i did a little research and there are many different types.. one has to do their homework on what type of materials they really want to work with, etc


here is a good starting point:



sessinpo's picture

Those look great. How much were your total imput costs in addition to the actual physical equipment?


In other words, would it be cost efficient for the individual? Probably not.

CPL's picture

I explain how to pay for it above to cover costs and put some extra in your pocket.

Karlus's picture

You still use your bag phone or brick phone? Last I checked every 14 yr old girl at the mall is carrying around the equivalent of a 1985 supercomputer that tracks her friends w GPS, has a screen that displays millions of colors Retina style (monochrome vs 4 color pallet anyone)...etc etc. point is some things dont really change, like Chrysler making cruddy cars, other things do.

In b4 someone says, everything we have is from the 80s

icanhasbailout's picture

depends on where you get the sandwich

Frastric's picture

Nah that's matter editation, we are centuries away from transmuting one set of molecules into another.

CPL's picture

We're barely identified quarks and leptons or understand what they are truely.  The only particle that can "teleport" in time and transmute itself.


usually have to detonate a nuke reaction to get one.

Urban Redneck's picture

You can buy a CNC mill today, for the same price or less and manufacture a "factory perfect" gun yourself.  Programming a CNC mill isn't any more complex than programming any other computer, but until someone develops an iIdiot app for that- it is beyond the reach for most, even the few with enough cash for the capital investment.

On a larger scale adoption it would eliminate the need for a whole bunch of manufactirung jobs, as well as sales clerks who sell easily reproducible goods.  However, it would require a huge army of bankers to come up with a new and improved ponzi to fainance widespread adoption.

CPL's picture

CNC mills are a better option, cheaper and stuff lasts as long as the metal and it's use.  

For you folks with 50 calibre rifles.  There is a shortage of the recycled shells and brass isn't cheap anymore.  Another reason why nobody that tendered the bullet contracts for all the agencies is going to deliver anything but a "thanks for your time, we spent your money regardless".

sessinpo's picture

I agree with you. You don't even have to buy CNC machines outright. They can be leased or you can buy with relatively low payments. Very little cost to the lender since the machine is the collateral. If you stop paying, they just take the machines back.


Don't have any 50 cal, but have a shitload of 308 LOL. Been stocking for years.

Reptil's picture

make one that can use hemp-material as building material and as fuel. problem solved.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Don't fire any gun incorporating a 3D printed barrel.   Seriously.  Not in this or any near future decade.

TN Jed's picture

Don't need to.  It's the lowers of an AR which have serial numbers and background checks.  Print the lower, buy the upper with cash.  I'll watch you shoot if first though :)

Nehweh Gahnin's picture

Nothing in the article said anything about printing a barrel.  Read it, then comment.

KK Tipton's picture

Halleluiah. Finally some sanity.

So many dumb scenarios, ideas and talk in this topic.
I think some here have to go read up on guns for the first time. Then maybe go see one in real life.

It's simple...$2000 home plastic part making factory is here.
A few years ago it was IMPOSSIBLE.

Now you can bang out flashlight mounts, bike parts, cell phone casings, knife handles, repair parts etc.
At home. In your underwear.

JuliaS's picture

Instead of bringing cheap useless plastic crap from China we can now build cheap useless plastic crap at home!

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

I work in the IC industry. There are reasons that they use the exotic materials they do, because they work. It is not they don't want to replace rare materials, it is because doing so reduces the quality or is not feasible. This author obviously knows nothing about technology.

Slewburger's picture

This author obviously knows nothing about technology.

De centeralized industrialization has already happened:

Any machine, tool or otherwise is available to anyone.

Second hand they are quite a steal:


Matt's picture

You can make a wrench or a hammer, good for you. Now make a computer with an LED screen, core i5 chip, SSD hard drive, and a decent GPU, with the chips on 22nm process or better, using your 3D Printer. Now do all of that without rare earths, using only raw elements available within 100 miles of your home.

KK Tipton's picture

Ehh...computers are optional really. We lived without them for thousands of years and can do it again.

But...since we do have cheap computers...we can now create survival tools much faster and easier.
This allows for increased resiliency.

Look at what you can design with Trimble Sketchup..and a lot of brains:

The Wooden Bandsaw 2 is incredible. Full plans available.

Now we just need to keep machines around to make bandsaw blades and Japanese handsaw blades.
Plus some DoChen Rolling Bearings ;)

Still need steelmakers and some industry. Not that much though.
There is plenty of material already out there. Buckminster Fuller knew that we had mined all we needed by 1970.
If we didn't blow it all up in war, we'd be sittin' pretty.

I applaud the efforts of people making wooden bandsaws and 3D printers alike.
Putting the means of production back in the hands of the people? PRICELESS.

TBT or not TBT's picture

If you redefine "we" to mean a very small fraction of the number of humans currently living well with the current technologies.

Our problem currently isn't technological, it is Democracy.   Democracies don't last long because they end up corrupted by the realisation by too many people that they can vote goodies for themselves out of the pocketbooks of others.    The US Constitution, which does not mention democracy, was meant to parry that by keeping government focused on limited purposes, keeping government self limiting, and setting individuals supreme in as much as could be allowed.   How is that idea in terms of empowerment of the individual(and not just nerds).   We need to get back to that.

Slewburger's picture

Wrench and hammer my ass.

Think you're missing the point. Real production is not related to LCDs, LEDs, hard drives, chip sets, mining for Bitcoins or running a trading platform.

Think bigger. Knee mills and lathes took us to the moon.

Sand castings can be made with heat, sand, wood, scrap metal and imagination. Machine a sand casting and you have anything from a gas turbine housing to an engine block. 

CPL's picture

Preach from the rock brother.

sessinpo's picture

Yes, one can make a wrench or hammer with out a 3D printer or with one. Materials are relatively easy and cost efficient for that purpose.


Now as you propose, do the same for your LED screen, corei5 chip, SSd HD and decent CPU, chips on 22nm process or better using your 3D printer and figure in the cost of getting the materials. In other words, it wouldn't be cost efficient for the individual consumer.


That would like spending $100,000 in lawyers fees to go after a guy that screwed you for $5000. Real smart.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Still doesn't address the issue of raw materials/commodities.   FYI- one thing I have learned after 20+ years in business is that when technology becomes a "steal" it isn't that valuable.  Funny how the market (when unmanipulated) can sort that out.  

bigbwana's picture

The Galactic Federation promises, after Full Disclosure, which the Illuminati are fighting with their last evil breath, that we will have replicators that can produce anything we want. Anything! And, being representatives of God, they cannot tell a lie. I am all for Full Disclosure! Spread the wondrous news, The Light. The Love. Do so, and Peace and Abundance will be Ours, sooner than you think. Yipeee!

LawsofPhysics's picture

Riiiiggghhht.  MDB is that you?  Good luck with that.