directions in the future of manufacturing are nanotechnology and 3d printing.
3D printing - a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. 3D printing is also considered distinct from traditional machining techniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling (subtractive processes). Potentially, this is the process that can be combined with nanotechnology to produce ("print") anything, any material object. Here is an illustration from "Popular Mechanics" of how to design and print a model of a futuristic car. A presentation from MIT on 3D printing has subtitles - can be used for teaching English. An overview of applications of 3D printing. Things are grown. Houses and sculptures are printed in 3-D printers. Yachts are 3d printed .
Claytronics - an abstract future concept that combines nanoscale robotics and computer science to create individual nanometer-scale computers called claytronic atoms, or catoms, which can interact with each other to form tangible 3-D objects that a user can interact with. This idea is more broadly referred to as programmable matter
Programmable matter - matter which has the ability to change its physical properties (shape, density, moduli, conductivity, optical properties, etc.) in a programmable fashion, based upon user input or autonomous sensing. Programmable matter is thus linked to the concept of a material which inherently has the ability to perform information processing.
Molecular assembler - as defined by K. Eric Drexler, is a "proposed device able to guide chemical reactions by positioning reactive molecules with atomic precision". A molecular assembler is a kind of molecular machine. Some biological molecules such as ribosomes fit this definition. This is because they receive instructions from messenger RNA and then assemble specific sequences of amino acids to construct protein molecules. This is the basic component of nanotechnology (see "Nanotechnology " category).