Economist article

Source, Feb 10, 2011: Print me a Stradivarius

From the article:

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

(...) The technology will have implications not just for the distribution of capital and jobs, but also for intellectual-property (IP) rules. When objects can be described in a digital file, they become much easier to copy and distribute-and, of course, to pirate. Just ask the music industry. When the blueprints for a new toy, or a designer shoe, escape onto the internet, the chances that the owner of the IP will lose out are greater.