Autodesk is working on software called “Project Escher” where groups of 3D additive-printers divide the printing of a single large piece.
I find especially fascinating the obvious ability to integrate non-additive-printing assembly or fabrication techniques into the production line:
Project Escher could also be used in an automated assembly line. While right now the gantry isn’t made up of anything but 3-D printers, Bloome says there’s no reason robot arms can’t be added to the network, so that non-additive elements like wires and circuit boards could be embedded during the printing process. Theoretically, you could 3-D print a complex object or gadget this way, like a car, without any humans being involved in the process once they hit Project Escher’s start button.
This is the future – lighting fixtures will be a combination of 3D printed parts and more traditional components (like circuit boards, wiring, connectors, molded parts, etc.) all assembled in one cell. Roll-to-roll printing processes offer similar potential.
The even farther future: 3D printing buildings where robotics and other specialized machines also place all the infrastructure, like plumbing, wiring, and embedded lighting.