Stratasys Blog

Obama Talks 3D Printing in State of the Union 2013

This is what President Obama had to say about 3D printing and his plan for the manufacturing sector in his State of the Union address yesterday:

“Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns. So tonight, I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of fifteen of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is Made in America. If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas.”

Very true. But to get from those ‘best ideas’ to those ‘best products’ is no trivial thing. In today’s consumer market, competition is more fierce than at any time in history. Not only do customers demand higher quality but they demand it at a competitive price. And that’s why 3D printing is such an important component of today’s economic recovery.

Obama’s plan of bringing more manufacturing jobs back to the US is commendable and very necessary – but is it realistic? And how?

microsoft surface tablet

The Microsoft Surface tablet was prototyped hundreds of times on the Objet Connex 3D printing system before entering production

Well, with 3D printing and additive manufacturing it should be possible to do at least these three things:

First, it should be possible for more innovators to demonstrate and prove their idea concept via small, affordable 3D printers such as the Mojo that will soon be found in every design office. This means we should be able to boost the number of good ideas that actually get to be seen and considered by investors and upper management.

Second, 3D printing will enable that good idea to be refined into a superior product through intensive prototyping. Obama mentioned the example of Apple, so to stay in the same ballpark let’s take Microsoft: Objet Connex 3D printing technology was used to create the over 300 prototypes used to perfect the new Microsoft Surface tablet. Even a simple thing like the stand for the device was prototyped over and over again until it was deemed ready for market.

And thirdly, 3D printing will enable the creation of a smarter production line, where Direct Digital Manufacturing systems such as the Fortus 900 will be used to manufacture batches of customizable parts within a product to meet the exacting quality demands of today’s consumers.

Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) has the potential to re-shape the production line towards greater efficiency and flexibility

This is what 3D printing is about – encouraging excellence in design and ensuring that that excellence is not lost in translation when it reaches the hands of the end user. Without 3D printing this would be a long, tedious and expensive process that few companies would be able to carry through – and something that would be much harder for cash-strapped economies to invest in.

3D printing opens the door to a future of fast, effective quality control resulting in more exciting and more life-changing US made products. And that is the value that it can offer to the US economy and to the global marketplace. It’s no wonder then that Obama is prioritizing the technology for his next term!

This post is also available in: French Spanish

Sam Green, Head of Marketing for Rapid Prototyping Solutions, Stratasys

Sam Green, Head of Marketing for Rapid Prototyping Solutions, Stratasys

Sam Green is Head of Marketing for Rapid Prototyping Solutions at Stratasys.


  • Some ideas to impress Chinese consumers:
    Print a rice with a Chinese poem on it
    Print an ivory ball with many layers inside and each layer can be turned (also Chinese)
    Print Chinese embroidery on a frame in such a way that it looks good from both sides

  • President Obama along with US gov. knows what a huge impact 3d printing industry have and will have on our lives. I feel comfort to know USA is leading the 3d printing revolution and integrate it in the daily life use. The important thing, and hopefully Obama will remember it, that the same gov that increase invests in 3d printing revolution will have to monitor the ugly side – manufacture of 3d printed weapons, knives, clubs and other dangerous crafts which must be under monitoring.

  • This is the beginning of another Industrial Revolution which must inevitably have enormous implications on Society.The relentless course of Scientific progress!Our World is ever changing, can we hope to keep up with it.

  • Incredible stuff coming our way. We love the new and exciting technologies that are coming out! Even though I’d imagine 3D printing will only be a novelty for personal use for quite a while. I can’t wait to buy the third or even forth generation 3D printer. That’s when we’ll start seeing some real practical uses.

    • 3D printing is only becoming popular as a “novelty for personal use” as of late. Its origins lie in the world of rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing, with numerous applications in place for 25 years. Have a look at some of the stories on our blog for an overview of how 3D printing technology is being put to practical use across multiple industries.

Archived Posts

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

Subscribe to Our Mailing List