The “Factory of the Future” is Here Today

3D Printing & Imaging
The “Factory of the Future” is Here Today

The future of manufacturing in New York City will take place in discreet warehouses in western Queens. This won’t be a return to the manufacturing of yore, but it will be very industrial in scale and scope. Shapeways, the Netherlands-based “marketplace and community” for 3D printing, has had an administrative office in Manhattan since 2010. Yesterday, they announced their plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Long Island City, Queens. They call it the “factory of the future.”

This future-factory will house multiple clean rooms and over 50 industrial 3D printers, capable of printing in plastics, metals, ceramics, glass, and more. To demonstrate available options, several machines were live printing and various completed prints were displayed on tables, including multi-color and mechanical objects.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was present for the ceremonial ribbon cutting, which was done with a pair of 3D-printed scissors no less! This is a very exciting time for making in the boroughs. The Mayor also announced the launch of a competition to promote 3-D printing and innovative manufacturing in NYC. This competition will establish New York’s Next Top Makers, in collaboration with Adafruit Industries, Shapeways, Honeybee Robotics, and ChallengePost.

Imagining a future where you can on-the-go fabricate everything from jewelry, architectural models, functional objects, and toys, no longer requires imagination. It’s here today. From printing one-off samples for a client to multi-thousand copies for commercial distribution, makers and businesses are increasingly empowered with the tools and resources to make it happen. It will be interesting to see in the coming years how a decision to open a factory in western Queens will have ripple effects in nearby neighborhoods and surrounding counties.

8 thoughts on “The “Factory of the Future” is Here Today

  1. Brandon A Boyer says:

    I just don’t see them being able to produce things efficiently on an industrial scale like this article says. The cycle time for 3d printing is just too long in comparison to more traditional methods. As sad as I am to say it I believe that 3d printing is going to remain limited to either prototyping or small batch runs.

  2. Keith says:

    Anyone know how well the site survived Sandy?

    1. Nick Normal says:

      Hi Keith, According to the Shapeways Facebook page, “We’re happy to report that our NYC Factory of the Future is 100% untouched by the storm.” Thanks for reading.

  3. MAKE | Summer of Making in NYC says:

    […] celebrated their 5th anniversary in July. Notable during their time in the boroughs, their “Factory of the Future” has gone from concept to ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Bloomberg (using a pair of 3D-printed […]

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I'm an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

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