Rust never sleeps, especially in Ohio. The heart of the steel manufacturing has suffered more from the decline of the industry and the recession more than anywhere else in America, and 3D Printing has been hyped for how it could bring jobs back. It might, but the story is more complicated than what it seems.

You Could Print A Lot of Chocolate with $70 Million Dollars

The Obama Administration is putting $30 million into the new ‘National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute’, to be located in Youngstown, Ohio. NAMII is a public-private partnership – $40 million is coming from a massive consortium of 40 companies, 9 Research Universities, 5 Community Colleges and 11 Non-Profit Organizations (listed below).

(Alright, it’s a CNC machine – but he’s hanging out at Ponoko so that’s good enough)

Here’s what the big guy in the White House had to say.

I’m pleased that we are taking steps to strengthen American manufacturing by launching a new manufacturing institute in Ohio,” said President Obama. “This institute will help make sure that the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow take root not in places like China or India, but right here in the United States of America.  That’s how we’ll put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts.

In-Sourcing Jobs?

3D Printing is great, but I’m less than certain that it’s going to bring back jobs to the United States. Mostly because there is still a massive labour component to 3D printing and the high cost. Therefore, places that have low labour costs mean lower prices for consumers. And even though shipping is a hassle, rates often make up for the difference – out-sourcing might just be cheaper. I spoke with Bartosz Bos, a former logistics manager at Figureprints, a 3D printing company based in Vancouver, Canada who take characters created by World of Warcraft users and turn them into life-like figurines.

While 3dPrinting and additive manufacturing processes are being hailed as revolutionary, it is important to keep in mind, that like any kind of manufacturing, there is still a significant amount of labour required to produce each individual part from start to finish.

The price for the same work from Asia is the same, in spite of the cost of shipping and handling. Furthermore, Chinese manufacturers aren’t held down by niceties like IP licensing or royalties to gaming companies. Although inventing is America’s comparative advantage, busting it out in bulk seems like the more difficult challenge.

NAMII Consortium is made of:

40 Companies: Allegheny Technologies, AlphaMicron, Applied Systems and Technology Transfer, Autodesk, Boeing, Catalyst Connection, Energy Industries of Ohio, ExOne, FMW Composites, General Dynamics, General Electric, Honeywell, IBM, Johnson Controls, Kennametal, Kent Displays, Laser Technology Assts, Lockheed Martin, Lubrizol, M-7 Technologies, MicroFab Technologies, Morris, Northrop Grumman, nScrypt, OSRAM Sylvania, Optomec, Oxford Performance Materials, Paramount Industries / 3D Systems, Parker Hannifin, Plextronix, POM, RTI, Ruger, Sciaky, Stratasys, Stratonics, Timken, Touchstone Research Lab, Westinghouse Nuclear, Wohlers Associates

9 Research Universities: Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University, Lehigh University, Penn State University, Robert Morris University, University of Akron, University of Pittsburgh, Youngstown State University

5 Community Colleges: Eastern Gateway Community College, Lorain County Community College, Northampton Community College, Penn College of Technology, Westmoreland County Community College

11 Non-Profit Organizations: Association for Manufacturing Technology, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, JumpStart Ohio, Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, MT Connect, NorTech, National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium, Ohio Aerospace Institute, Robert C. Byrd Institute, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Source: 3Ders and the White House

Filed under: FAB NEWS

  • Dave Ault

    Nope, Obama funds nothing, taxpayers do. As a matter of fact his record for what is chosen to be funded has an enormously bad record of failure and crony capitalism. Instead of free market principles which fund things because people believe there is a reason to based on potential and they ask for no ones “forced” contributions nor do they forcibly enslave their grandchildrens economic future to make points for re-election propaganda. Obama didn’t build this country, forward looking businessmen did. They don’t need Obama and his socialists to keep getting in the way.

  • Josh M

    No manufacturer left behind… without a 3d printer.

  • ion

    we don’t need to turn this into a government argument.
    the simple truth is any country that doesn’t have free education, free health care and mandatory military service deserves everything it suffers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jf.brandon JF Brandon

    This isn’t a political forum, but Ill just say I don’t think Obama’s even close to what you could call a socialist (more like a light Conservative from a Euro/Canadian perspective). Politics aside, I really think that the businessmen and women of Youngstown, Ohio are really going to appreciate this taxpayer money to rebuild their town that has suffered from the recession….I don’t see a helping hand as a invitation to ‘enslave’ …

  • Adam

    Simmer down kids. We’re reporting on factual information here. Let’s keep it civil.

  • http://about.me/jeffreymatthias Jeffrey Matthias

    Politics aside, it is very cool that taxpayer money is funding this. I think it will help to get the story about 3D printing to the world outside of tech and design blogs. This is cool!

  • Lee Lloyd

    Sidestepping all the political BS, this seems like as good an article as any to ask; why the excessive focus on additive technologies? I know that 3D printing is a big buzzword at the moment, but it really seems to me that subtractive technologies (CNC) are more mature, and thus providing a much better bang for buck, especially at scale. It would seem to me that a better use of money would be in developing systems for recycling the waste material of subtractive systems, to further lower costs.

    Of course I fully accept that I might be missing something, but it has just been my experience that milling almost always wins for price, even if not for ease or speed. That said, I would put a good 5-axis mill up against any similarly priced 3D printer.

  • http://www.dshape.ca JF Brandon

    CNC machining is pretty damn cool and far more mature – but I think 3DP has a lot more to offer when you consider its ability to create pre-assembled products, materials with complex internal structures that make them stronger and lighter than milled pieces….

  • http://www.facebook.com/jmsiefer Josh Siefer

    I have often speculated that if we were to assist Mexico in setting up manufacturing facilities, while helping to regulate production in meeting US standards, that it would be beneficial on multiple levels. Workers could find employment within their own country and reduce immigration, and we could slowly wean ourselves away from overseas production, while keeping costs low and still paying workers fair wages (comparatively). It would be a step in the right direction. This is an ongoing process. There is no “easy” fix.

  • SolidHead

    Im with Dave on this. Anything Obama touches is going to fail and he throws taxpayer money around like its his own personal bank..remember Solandra anyone?.

  • http://www.dshape.ca JF Brandon

    Yes, I do remember Solyndra (not Solandra) … and it was funded by Bush, not Obama. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/nov/17/david-plouffe/solyndra-loan-george-w-bush-david-plouffe/

  • Matt

    I’m excited about this, I live in this area and I think this is a good thing to bring back manufacturing and jobs to the area. I can only hope to be a part of it.

  • http://www.dshape.ca JF Brandon

    There’s probably a great deal of CAD work to be done, solidworksguy@gmail.com :P

  • trickytobeat

    3DPrintingInstitute.com :||: The3DPrinter.com :||: Consumer3DPrinting.com robertpmclean “the3dprinter” 604-598-0502 rpmclean@shaw.ca

  • http://anaman.posterous.com Madwaxer

    Would rather like to see foundries built in every state!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ted.drifter Drifter Ted
  • Lee Lloyd

    Sure, but that strength is also part of the problem with 3D printing. You can make shapes with 3D printing, that can’t be made any other way, and from a design for manufacture point of view, that means you can make things with 3D printing, that are completely worthless, at least for now. Sure, if you are Nike, making one-of-a-kind shoes for your sponsored athletes, then that’s fine. However, in a much more real world scenario, if you are using a 3D printed prototype for your Kickstarter campaign, you are in for some shocking expenses when you get your funding, and then send that design off to that factory in China, expecting them to be able to mass produce that part, just because you were able to 3D print it.

    Also, you are assuming I’ve never used a 3D printer. I’ve used plenty of them. In fact, I printed test parts on just about every printer on the market, and when setting up my workshop, found that the only printers that even came close to the quality I needed, were all pushing up around six figures, not $300.