What's preventing 3D printing from becoming mainstream?


What’s preventing 3D printing from becoming mainstream?


mainstream = consumer devices which do need a consumer compliant user interface (aka plug’nplay). Fiddling around with filaments jamming nozzles or warping effects or parts losing contact to print bed during printing as well as non-trival slicer/modeling software is nothing for people who don’t wanna bother with technical issues surely arising.


Not everything in the world can be made out of plastic. We would need better materials in order to make things for which plastic is unsuitable.


I would add on to what @sketch3d_de said, “and doubly so at current price points.”

Under a grand the utility is pretty limited and then, even over 2 grand you still have to cope with the issues that that were mentioned above. It’s pricey for a pain the patoot. :wink:


See this so you can educate your self http://sketchucation.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=388.
You are looking at many years before it gets to state you can say mainstream.
In the link look for Dukejazz he has been posting some time on state of things_


I think that 3D printing is already mainstream, as much as any niche DIY hobby can be. While 3D printing is incredible for one- or two-off parts, it doesn’t lend itself well (yet) to mass production. Whether you print it yourself, or have someone else do it for you, it takes considerable time for anything larger than than a matchbox. Large parts can be quite expensive, both in time and material. And the end result is often less than what is desired, even if it can be fixed up by some sanding, etc.

WIkipedia lists nearly 100 hobbies, most of which are not involved with designing or making anything that would (or could) be 3D printed (quilting and crochet come to mind). So it may well be that 3D printing is mainstream already, but just not of interest to manufacturers (other than prototypes) and 95% of all hobbyists?

Where it’s really taking off is in the jewelry business. High resolution wax printers produce detailed quality masters that can be used to make a mold to then cast into a variety of materials. Since most jewelry is small, the print times are fairly short, even at highest quality. Some of my favorite 3D prints have been made in sterling silver or gold (my wife loves them!).

As for truly being mainstream? When you can click on a website and order a new [something] and print it out in a few minutes, it will become so. Want a latte mocha extra cream? Poof. Need a new pair of shoes (that fit!)? Poof. Need a new watch? Poof. (you get the idea)


When I first saw this $99 3D printer last fall (not yet available), I thought it might help bring 3D printing into the home market. However, as the video below shows, a smallish part takes 2.5 hours to print. When it’s all said and done, there are a limited amount of things you can print with this. You can make lots of cool stuff to look at, but not much in the way of a replacement for things you might actually need. Not being able to use your cell phone while you wait an hour or two for a plastic doodad is not going to help enthusiasm for it either. Still, it’s a pretty neat idea :slight_smile:



There are other materials that are used in the printers . . And the problem with Main Stream is just not to bright and has not caught up with what is going on . . Every one I talk to about it asks all kinds of questions . . I got one and am moving toward making money with it ! !C Takes a bit of time to get things working just right and all steps in same direction . . Not an over night thing . .


Jay Lenos builds some parts for some of his collection where they are not available, does that mean it’s mains stream…no!; The air force is building some fighter parts does it mean main stream …no!; aircraft manufactures are looking at building wing section, does that mean main stream…no!. I went thru the graphite craze and it is not bit of time. If you can build a strut that has nearly zero CTE, good for temp range of say -150c to 240c,100s to thousands of load cycles ( with zero failures) and has mechanical properties that allow your design to be used in " man" rated design then you are close to main stream. The stuff now is nickel and dime. You are looking at development time probably the range of 10X decades>= graphite epoxy design.


I think that @sketch3d_de Hit it on the head. Until 3D printers are out of the box ready to run with little to no fiddling/tuning/optimizing, they will always be a niche market.

Remember when laser printers were awesome new technology that cost a ton and had to have technicians service on a regular basis? Printing a professional looking document meant taking a file to Kinko’s and paying to use someone else’s laser printer (one that was bought, maintained and filled by them). Now, you can grab one at Best Buy for under $200, plug it into your USB and be printing in a few minutes.

I think that 3D printers MIGHT get there… But we will have to wait and see if technology advances before 3D printers become common place…


Unless you get a ALREADY 3D printer put together and ready to print ( cost is a gob then ) I got mine in 5 million parts had to assemble it plus upload Marlin files and then get a few other programs to run things with . . I have Slic3r for making the G-Code for Repetier-Host to make the part with . . and have Sketchup Make 2016 32 bit to make parts with . . Making 4 separate parts for a Cedar chest now actually its is 4 of one and 8 of another pus 2 of one thing and so on and waiting on the wood filament to make them with now . . I have fried a control board destroyed a set of extruder’s and other small things LOL takes some work to get all working in same direction so all works right . . Am so far behind making any money it is not funny . . Gave away a christmas tree ornamet on Cult and had lots of people down load it t hang some place . .


My point, exactly… If 3D printing means assembling your own hardware and 2 - 3 programs to get everything running, it’s not ready for the common user.


Simply put

  • Money - Material Costs
  • Money - Equipment Costs
  • Money - relative to other technologies
  • Money - time
  • Cost/Benefit, over other technologies and materials
  • Knowledge - all those involved
  • Performance - Code Compliance
  • Reliability
  • Surety - can it be insured
    Surety - Does it have a UL or other Certifciation. Can it be tested.
  • Need

3d Printing, as an industry, is growing.
But it is in its infancy.

Context, I’d suggest for all to view a skit from the Mitchell and Webb Situation entitled. Bronze Orientation.Realize this conversation has not happened before. Nor do ages start/stop on a day.

BTW. referencing someone, like Jay Leno. That is a tinkerer. That has money. Has connections, etc. Isn’t really citing a true real world example.


if looking for a 3D printer I’d recommend to check 3D Hubs great 3D Printer Guide listing all common but also new 3D printers models with reviews incl. pros and cons classified in the categories Prosumer, Workhorse, Plug ‘n’ Play and Budget etc.


haha I have a person who likes to watch the 3D printer make things like a Shamrock Key ring item got on sale for a whole .55 cents on Cult ( I get .11 cents per as my commission ) . . So far no one buying them ( it is for people who HAVE 3D printer and want to make one ) it is the STL file for download and print away . . So limited group of people I guess …Oh yeah need Light Green Filament to make one also hahaha that is another $28.00 with shipping and handling and all . .


Here’s a scenario from 100 years in the future (this is a chapter from my latest book)::

Carlos examined the jewelry box with a critical eye. It was almost ready, but the corners were still a little too crisp. He sighed to himself and tossed it into the recycler. “Back to the drawing board,” he thought to himself. He turned once more to his console and made the changes to the template. The holographic representation of his design floated in the air in front of him and he smoothed the corners a little more. Satisfied with the result, he transferred it to his processor and retrieved the new version. “That’s more like it,” he thought. He stood up from his chair and went into the viewing lounge. “Hey, Andrea, I need your opinion. What do you think of this latest version?”

His girlfriend paused the holovid she was watching and turned to him. “Let’s see what you’ve got,” she said as she took the box from his hands. Setting it on the low table in front of her, she studied it critically. “It’s beautiful, Carlos, it really is.”

“It’s got thirty coats of clear lacquer over a gold filigree that’s inlaid into the silicon case,” he said proudly.

Andrea opened the lid and watched as the three trays inside moved up and out to array themselves in front of her. “That is so cool, Carlos! If I was the type of girl who had a lot of jewelry to wear, this would be the perfect thing to keep everything in.” She closed the lid and watched the trays nestle compactly again.

“So, how much would you pay for something like this?” he asked. “I think it’s ready to be listed.”

“Oh, I don’t know. The free ones are pretty nice.” She picked it up and turned it about in her hands, “The effect you’ve achieved with the micro-etched silicon is very appealing, however.” She handed it back to Carlos, “If it was my sort of thing, I’d probably give you two credits for it. Maybe three.”

“Really?” He smiled, “I think I’ll start it at one credit and see how they sell.” He leaned down and kissed her on the cheek, “Thanks, Andrea!”

She smiled as he left the room. Ever since he had discovered the joy of using ACME MockUp, he had been coming up with some sort of design or another. Of the several dozen offerings that he had listed on the SingleNet, only one of them had sold well enough to brag about. However, his latest creation really was strikingly beautiful, so who knew how it might fare. It wasn’t like they really needed the extra credits—she was a simple girl, after all. As long as she had her soap operas and pizza and somewhere to sleep, she didn’t really need much else. She un-paused the holovid and returned to her show once more.


Here’s a scenario from ~40 years in the past (this is an episode from Star Trek):


Actually, I believe that’s from 2364 A.D. ~ 347 years in the future.


admitting :kissing_smiling_eyes:


The future used to be different…