Digital Artisans

The crisis has put a strain on many of the key principles of the entire Italian economic system , showing the numerous gaps and incompatibilities with current scenarios. There are so many businesses that went bankrupt on the one hand due to the lack of credit and on the other to the ruthless Asian competition .

And the phenomenon does not seem to stop!

We need to change course as soon as possible, but how? A new technology seems to promise a return to the glories of the past!

We are talking about 3D printing ! Its development requires a combination of manual and intellect and is an opportunity for artisans today (digital artisans) to write new pages of history of our so dear Made in Italy .

How 3d printing is changing the logic of production

The 3D printing combined with the already known wonders of the web have an incredible potential that can completely overturn the world of industrial production !

Ideas and projects can be realized thanks to the participation of a community of enthusiasts, sharing with other “digital makers”! And in this sense the resource of crowdsourcing is of primary importance .

Furthermore, open source communities have already made some design software available for free, making entry to the new technology more accessible.

If funding is needed, these too can be found on the net through crowdfunding processes . 
The products, of course, will be made with 3D printers while their marketing and distribution can be done through e-commerce.

Digital makers (or digital artisans)

Therefore, the craftsman of the third millennium thinks digitally and this gives him a new status: that of “digital maker”.

The digital maker is nothing more than a craftsman who uses variable amounts of information technology as a “raw material”!

Sometimes he works in the solitude of a garage, others in the “Fablab” (specialized production centers), but almost always the digital maker compares ideas, projects and inventions on the web, particularly in the community of enthusiasts he takes part in.

The opportunities are endless as what can now be achieved is infinite.

This new technology also offers the great possibility of making niche production accessible and competitive with respect to mass production and satisfying so many micro-markets that have so far been “not serviceable”.

In ironic terms, the much quoted phrase “Work must create it” is now charged with new meanings!

Why could artisans play a leading role?

There are many reasons that lead us to think that (digital) artisans will be the protagonists of this possible revolution:

  • Skills and technical knowledge : although it is true that anyone could benefit from the basic uses of 3D printing, however, it is necessary to underline that important technical knowledge (materials, work processes, costs, etc.) is necessary to go “beyond”. That’s why the artisans are the only ones who can really make the most of the potential of 3D printing.
  • New uses and applications : this technology, not so new as you might think, was not originally designed for production. Until a few years ago, in fact, companies that could afford it used it for simple rapid prototyping. And it is still difficult to apply it in different ways. The artisans, therefore, more than anyone else could play with their skills and abilities a key role in finding new uses and applications and in verifying together with the customer the quality of the final result.
  • Creation of new micro-markets : 3D printing has great potential but creative people, technical knowledge, new visions and much more are needed to be able to “identify” them and “create” the infinite micro-markets just waiting to be served. And who, more than the artisans, could once again make a fundamental contribution in this sense?

From whatever perspective you look at the new technology the artisans seem to be the main recipients, the forerunners of this new technological revolution.

Italy and the revaluation of craftsmanship

The first decade of 2000 was characterized by a particular aversion towards “trades” to the advantage of “scientific professions” and the mistake of separating academic and manual knowledge was also committed.

The time has come to review the policy of these years and to bridge this gap, taking advantage of the evolution of 3d printing!

The fusion of craftsmanship and new technologies could be the last chance to save our manufacturing system and therefore millions of jobs that would inexorably move to other continents (something that has already been happening for several years now).

Conclusions

Italy has nothing to envy of any nation, not even the USA and Scandinavia, or the pioneer countries in this field. 
Among other things, the link between technology and the manufacturing sector already exists! Just believe it and bet on it!

This does not seem to be just a new industrial revolution , but also a real cultural revolution! 
And what do you think?

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