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With my
education background in Industrial design, I was always fascinated by the idea
of personal fabrication. Later, I was fortunate to get the opportunity to work
with rapid prototyping for developing new products. Now, as this concept of
personal fabrication becomes mainstream, the following advantages and
disadvantages vs. traditional manufacturing methods become clear:

Advantages:

1.    
Iterations and mass user testing of products before
introducing them directly to the market means that user testing is involved at
a much earlier stage than before. This allows for on-demand manufacturing, which is both sustainable and cost-effective in
the long run.

 

2.    
Each product can now be made unique as per the needs
and variables defined by the customer permitting mass customization.

 

3.    
For a consumer who is located in a remote area, it
would be intuitive to personally fabricate a replacement part for an outdated
or unsupported device from the downloadable part library on a manufacturer’s
site, helping them to reenergize their
old products.

 

4.     Designers and
manufacturing companies will be able to focus micro-markets such as developing nations, disable consumers etc. to
create highly functional products that are customized to their unique
requirements.

5.   Prototyping techniques allow for complex geometry to be
introduced in prototypes that is not possible with mass manufacturing
processes.

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