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Is there any technological trend in the raw materials extraction/mining industry that's analogous to how 3D-printers have the potential to impact the manufacturing industry?

Submitted by PerfectSociety in Science

I'm definitely a layperson with regard to this topic, but it seems as though 3D-printers have the potential to be a transformative technology in the area of manufacturing - making the ability to manufacture things more decentralized, small-scale, and portable.

Is there any such analogous technology in the raw materials extraction/mining industry that could transform it in a similar fashion - making raw materials extraction more decentralization, small-scale, and portable?

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zzuum wrote

I'd imagine that's waaaay more difficult because useful resources are located in specific areas, and not to mention they are already controlled by huge conglomerates.

The only remotely close thing I can think of is some 3d print material recyclers which exist to take used material and melt it back down into useable filament. I think it'll be recycling that gets more transformed into reusing.

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PerfectSociety wrote

The only remotely close thing I can think of is some 3d print material recyclers which exist to take used material and melt it back down into useable filament. I think it'll be recycling that gets more transformed into reusing.

Yup! I'm really looking forward to the evolution of this practice.

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zzuum wrote

My University had one, and the lab I worked in had lots of excess 3d printed material. We gave them our trash prints but we're unsure what happened after. Still hopefully it got used again