The use of 3D printing is reportedly increasing in China, being used for everything from individual desktop manufacturing to the creation of commercial aircraft parts.
The Economist reports that companies such as the Beijing-based Longyuan Automated Fabrication System (AFS) are servicing the country's aerospace and automotive industries for prototyping, manufacturing from plastics, sand and waxes.
AFS also makes UP desktop 3D printers, which are designed to be affordable enough for personal use. The Mini UP, for example, is available in Australia for less than $1000.
Beihang University‘s National Laboratory for Aeronaturics and Astronautics owns a 12-metre laser sintering machine, which makes parts, including titanium fuselage frames, for the country’s commercial aircraft programme.
China Daily reported late last year that Su Bo, vice-minister of industry and information technology, was advocating tax incentives to speed the take-up of the technology in China. According to Lu Bingheng of Xi'an Jiaotong University, cited in the same article, China has 8.6 per cent per cent of the world’s 3D printing machines, well behind the United States, which has 38.5 per cent.
The Economist also reported that the Maker sub-culture, involving communities who share DIY manufacturing ideas and projects, is beginning to grow in China, with mini Maker Faires beginning to appear in big cities.