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Three Dimensional Policy: Why Britain needs a policy framework for 3D printing

Three Dimensional Policy: Why Britain needs a policy framework for 3D printing

Andrew Sissons and Spencer Thompson
16 October 2012

3D printing – the ability to translate digital designs into physical objects – looks set to transform global manufacturing, and presents enormous opportunities for Britain. If adopted successfully, 3D printing could trigger a wave of growth in the UK economy, create new manufacturing jobs and bring enormous environmental benefits.

However, our research highlights some serious barriers and risks to the growth of 3D printing, and argues that government must address these issues speedily if Britain is to avoid being left behind. 3D printing will need a far more flexible intellectual property framework, a rethink on how or whether the internet is regulated, and new types of infrastructure that merge digital and physical worlds. This report calls for the government to take note of these dramatic changes, and to begin developing a policy plan for 3D printing before it is overtaken by events.

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