In my opinion, for the home users , the 3D printer will only remain as a novelty item and not something that will be regularly used.
And since it will not be regularly used , it will soon become unusable as is the story with most of the inkjet printers bought at home. The cartridges dry up and the printer head does not work if you try to use your printer once in a while. It becomes cost effective to get your printouts done at some internet-kiosk rather than owning your own printer.
The 3D printer is a complex product for a home user.
But it has great potential as an industrial product and every 3D printer manufacturer has to put its focus on that segment.
I agree, Larry. There were two major killer apps for PCs, both enabled by the Internet: e-mail first, then web browsers. And along for the ride, word processor, spreadsheet, and database apps.
Ever wonder why we can download books, movies and TV shows, photos, magazine articles, music, not to mention software, but not, say, pots and pans, dishes, even something as simple as buttons?
The major limitation with today's 3D printers is that everything they make has to be plastic. I see that as a temporary nuisance. Online shopping, for items other than those I mentioned above, still involves shipping. That could slowly change, over time.
@LarryM99, OK, you do make some compelling arguments here. Many people may not use it often but they might want one. Your comment about "Mickey ears" actually made me understand this. Not that I want Mickey ears, but I can certainly see people wanting to "copy" that at home!
I too think that this is where they will go in the end. There are a few other companies that have professional units like this. This will give them a consumable that refilling will be out of the question for most people. It will also yield better looking models, though with reduced functionality as they will not stand up to heat as well as some of the other methods that are out there. I would actually be ok with this as long as they had a wide varity of material choices and colors, I think that this could really be great for proto models with better resolution than extrusion based parts. It also plays to their strengths in that they are very familiar with cartrige based mems ink dispensing. If they then added a way to have ink mix at the interface with the resin, then you could print in color as well. This would give them two consumables. If it has not been patened, I am sure that they would try, and I hope that people would find this post and use it as a reference for prior art.
They made exactly the same argument about these so-called "personal" computers. Why on earth would anybody want one of those? Granted, it did help when the Internet came along and the masses discovered that they could be used to download porn. It's not like a 3-D printer has any possibility to create something involved in that...
Admit it. Each and every one of you has just come up with at least one idea.
I can see any number of people that need a specific piece of plastic or want to create a piece of plastic that they can't find. If I want a chess set with my face on the king and my family or pets as the other pieces I can make it. If I need a cell phone case that I can hang around my neck I can make it. If I need a button for a blender that hasn't been made for a decade I can make it. If I want a hood ornament that expresses a gesture considered too rude to be sold in a family store I can make it (and that one I am pretty sure someone will).
Granted, many people will buy them and never get around to using it. But that is also true of woodworking tools, high-end embroidery sewing machines, or any other creative tool. On the other end of the scale you will have people that live for new designs. There will also be yet another massive war over copyrights. Want to make your own Mickey ears? Don't wear them to Disneyland.
Indeed. Although everyone expects growth in 3-D printers over the next several years, I question how much of that growth will be in the consumer market.
If you refer to the device as a "3-D printer," it sounds like a consumer electronics item -- but not so much if you refer to it as a "additive manufacturing system." I don't think the mass market of consumers are just desperately wishing they could manufacture something.
This is where Gartner and others will extrapolate the percentage increases to get the hockey-chart graphs that show a market bigger than the population of the planet within a few years
That made me chuckle! I've always believed that where 3D printers shine is when one of a kind type of things need to be made -- which suggests that its real market is more in a rather high-end medical, archictual, antique type of stuff... am I wrong about that? If so, I don't really see a HUGE volume of 3D-printer market. But I am sure I am missing something in my assumption.