However.. after about 1973? I quit trying to keep up with every technology change in every field. It's impossible. The rate of change outstripped my ability to absorb it.
And I was also very interested in human reproductive biology... It happens to young men.
But I did learn to never say never. I can't keep up with the technology in every case, but do skip over the high points as trends emerge.
My personal opinion (which is worth what you paid for it) is that 3-D manufacturing, whether additive, subractive, or some combination, is going to change the world before I shuffle off this mortal coil.
I completely agree with you.
The additive machining technology is a revolution coming down the road, straight at US manufacturing. It is a way for smart companies to lower costs substantially by reducing wasted material - which, thanks to that idiot Bernanke and his merry devaluation elves in the big banks, is becoming more expensive in worthless US dollars all the time.
The secondary effect of additive machining is that it will increase the number of used CNC machines on the market in about 10 years. Already, you can go buy some various makes of “real” CNC mills for relatively little money, if you’re willing to do some work on them yourself (eg, Fadal’s VMC’s) and you don’t need the latest and greatest technology.
The real nut of the issue is that no one “needs” a EDM machine (or even a broach) to make an AR lower out of a slab of aluminum. Just split the problem in half - section the receiver down the long axis, then put it together with cap screws, alignment pins and high-tech glue. Whammo, you have a AR lower without anything more than a 3-axis machine - and truth be told, you could probably crank them out on a retrofitted Bridgie with 2.5 axis control.