Additive Manufacturing Processes

It was sad to see the General Store closing down. It had been here from the very beginning, supplying essential goods to settlers, making their lives and the development of the Lucerne Valley possible.

Everything changes in time. The owner was surprisingly stoic. Though he hadn’t been present for the store’s full 108 years of trading, he had been born there, and lived and worked there for the 72 years since then. The reason why he’d never married and had children was because he was stuck there.

He said to Sami, “I am bored selling stuff here, and people are bored buying stuff here. Either we replace me, or we replace the people. That’s the situation. It’s a lot easier to replace me, so I’ve sold the place to a young guy from the city. He seems like a smart kid. Maybe he’ll know what to do with it.”

Sami had only been in town for a year, serving as the retired holy man Guru Baba’s assistant, but he’d developed a deep attachment to Lucerne. He was sorry to see the demise of this institution. Hopefully the new owner would see the value of heritage; he could continue the business, and even expand it, if he had good marketing and business plans.

When the shop’s renovation began, Sami’s hopes were dashed. It was a wholesale remodeling. The old – admittedly pokey, leaky, rotting and rusted – features of the store were removed or replaced to create a plain aesthetic. It seemed more a workshop than a store.

Finally a new sign went up, saying “AMP co.” The AMP was in a robot font formed of cut out grey metal letters. The co. was in black italics, also metal cut-outs. The whole sign was backlit golden.

An electrical store, here? thought Sami. If there wasn’t enough business for the general store, who would open an electrical store? The previous owner had said that people were bored with buying stuff here; even his modest “Technology” department hadn’t survived. People went to big box stores in malls or bought online. Who did the new owner expect to be his customers?

The new owner was a Chinese guy. Sami waved when he saw him one day, and he was beckoned in. “Hi, I’m Alfred Choo, proprietor of this fine establishment.” He explained that yes, people were bored with buying stuff here, but he believed that they would be keen on making stuff here.

“Making stuff like what?” said Sami.

“That’s what the mayor asked when I told him my plans, but then he saw my point. I’ve received a grant from the Authority, credit from my bank, and a tax break from the village. I have purchased all the components required and built the first prototype. Would you like to see it?”

He took Sami into the back room. There was a machine like a large photocopier with additional wires, cogs and levers.

“Here it is, a 3D printer. The nature of commerce is about to change. People will no longer buy things. They will be able to make them themselves just as easily and cheaply. Anything they want. I’m testing it right now. What shall we make?”

Sami’s mouth hung open. He said the first thing that came to mind, “Another printer.”

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