In his eight years as President of the United States, Barack Obama has shown a lot of interest and support for 3D printing.
In a presidential first, the Smithsonian institute 3D printed a bust of President Obama for the White House Maker Faire in June 2014.
In 2016, the White House also hosted the National Week of Making with 3D printed projects from elementary school student Jacob Leggette.
Beyond these snapshots of America’s 44th President and 3D printing, it also becomes clear that he takes the application of additive manufacturing in industry very seriously.
Manufacturing hubs program
The manufacturing hubs program is Obama’s initiative to continue the progress of bringing industry to the US. In a speech opening a new hub in Clinton, Tennessee he explains, “When I took office, I believed that if the last decade was characterized by outsourcing, I wanted to define this decade for in-sourcing.”
The program itself sets up manufacturing facilities, like Maker Labs or Fab Labs, in colleges and communities with the expressed purpose of connecting people in varied areas of expertise. Explained by Obama himself in the same speech in Clinton,
We’re working to grow the jobs of tomorrow through a national network of manufacturing hubs. We’re launching these hubs around the country, and the concept is simple. We bring businesses, research universities, community colleges, state local and federal governments together. And we figure out, where’s the key opportunities for manufacturing int he future? […] these hubs are working on everything from 3D printing, […] to flexible computer chips.
The former President visited a number of manufacturing hubs in his term, including Boise State Univeristy’s Product Development Lab that 3D prints product prototypes for partnered businesses, and Pittsburgh’s community-based workspace TechShop.
The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute and America Makes
The first manufacturing hub was opened in Youngstown, Ohio and was mentioned in Obama’s State of the Union speech from 2013,
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.
In 2013’s State of the Union Address, Obama also mentions the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Affiliated with the America Makes program and the country’s national labs like Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the collective produces new materials, methods and technologies typically for aerospace, medicine and defence.
Chiefly concerned with on-shoring America’s industries, we’re hoping Trump’s presidency will be just as welcoming to the 3D printing industry as Obama’s has been, and look forward to hearing from him soon!
With the proliferation of manufacturing hubs and more companies adopting 3D printing capabilities it certainly seems like the right initiative to take.
Featured images shows the 3D printed bust of Obama. Photo via the Smithsonian Institute