Desktop 3D Printing

Desktop 3D printers have been getting a lot of attention especially desktop 3D printers such as MakerBotFormlabs and the new Kickstarter project  The Micro.

The micro is will be the cheapet 3D printer and is aimed at consumers. Anyone can buy one at 300 dollars and create, download and print models. Formlabs is used more for prototyping using  Stereolithography technology for high precision and surface finish for a more professional model.form labs

 

 

Will consumers all have a 3d printer and download and create models to print in their home? Will consumers not buy a product but just buy a file and print it themselves. It could be a very exciting possibility but I feel it will not get mass adoption. If a consumer were to buy a simple plastic product it is normally mass produced, making use of economies of scale to make it as cheap as possible, this will not be the case with a 3D printer. It will have been engineered with specific processes and specific material to make it fit and durable for its purpose, these things are not possible with a desktop 3D printer. The product will be produced with a very high finish something which can not be achieved with a  cheap 3D printer. I can see a future wear it could be used for some repair parts, personalisation of products and possible cheap toys.

 

As prototyping machines these are amazing, to take an idea and to make it physical incredibly quickly makes designing and working in 3D much easier. If trying to design a product and take it to market prototyping used to be slow, expensive and hard work, now many iterations can be achieved very quickly, easily and relatively cheap. It is giving anyone the ability to design, create and make.