3D Printer for $3000

2

Comments

  • cdordonicdordoni Posts: 312
    edited December 1969

    I'd really be interested in hearing of an actual example where this technology would make a real difference. Just ONE product that would be indicative of this "global change". And by example I mean one that has been really evaluated for costs and practicality.

    Medical, skin and cartilage specifically. Not far off now, and 3d printing other biological "parts" not that far behind. Advantage, persons own tissue can be used to create compatible replacement medium.

  • cdordonicdordoni Posts: 312
    edited November 2012

    Many people with severe damage to their skulls have been 3d scanned and replacement sections of their skulls built in cad, then 3d printed or cnc machined.

    Post edited by cdordoni on
  • denny_dde0a1a04cdenny_dde0a1a04c Posts: 131
    edited November 2012

    I saw where the 3d printing technology was used in experimenting in making concrete buildings, layer by layer.....I think it was in a Popular Science magazine ??

    Edit: Here's the article...
    http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-08/researcher-aims-print-3-d-print-entire-houses-out-concrete-20-hours

    I do see how it could be very useful in making parts that would be impossible to mold or cut in todays conventional ways, however, there is also a casting technique called lost foam casting that is used to make very complex engine parts for outboard motors.

    Post edited by denny_dde0a1a04c on
  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited December 1969

    I fear this is one of those ideas that sounds really cool until you figure out the "devil in the details", at which point you realize that there are better, cheaper, and faster methods already existing. It's just that they don't sound as cool and awesome, and aren't as fun to think about.

    Building a house with a 3D printer? Wow, sounds really awesome. Practical and cost effective? Not even close. But when people don't realize and/or understand what is already in existence, they assume anything new and awesome must be much better.

    This might be good for some VERY small niche markets, but in terms of changing the world I really doubt it.

  • KorvisBlackKorvisBlack Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Solidoodle has a 3D printer (not a kit) for $500. Their "top end" version is only $800. Cost of material is less than $2 per cubic inch.

    Layer thickness can be less than .2 mm. Build volume is approx 8" cube.

    The 3D house building machine is just a proof of concept. The planned use is for building structures in hostile environments: send some robotic 3D printers to the moon, they use lunar soil mixed with a binder to create the shells for the base. Once complete, the astronauts can arrive and complete the interior. Same concept may be possible with undersea structures or in nasty areas here on Earth, such as a desert where there is lots of sand but no wood, steel, etc.

    Printing human parts is a definite advancement.

    Also, my wife has been pestering me to fix that plastic thingy that broke off the fridge door a few years ago. With a 3D printer, I could make a replacement part for about 80 cents. To order it from the manufacturer will cost around $2.00 and $20 shipping and take 6 - 8 weeks to arrive. Now, I am not going to spend $500 to build a $2.00 part, but I probably could get a friend to make it, and pay him a beer for his trouble. Nah, I am still to lazy to fix it anyway.

    However, these 3D printers are going to be crazy popular. They may even bring manufacturing jobs back to America, since you will still need people to run them and repair them.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited December 1969

    However, these 3D printers are going to be crazy popular. They may even bring manufacturing jobs back to America, since you will still need people to run them and repair them.

    Okay, but again, I think that the devil is in the details, and if you actually think about it, and put numbers to it, you'll realize it's probably not the world-changer that you might think.

    Let's take your refrigerator part....

    Now, let's say you buy a printer yourself and have it standing ready to make little parts. Which, by the way, have to be of the right size and materials that are handled by your printer. Which is probably quite limited. So that's $500 plus S&H. Plus you have to maintain a computer to hook it up. Okay, so you have your system running and ready to go.

    Oh, wait, you need to buy a supply of the right plasti-goop material to reproduce your refrigerator spare part. Just any old plastic material may not be right. It might have to have a certain strength, or tolerance to cold, or whatever. And if you don't use the right material, it will fall apart after the first time you open the door. So you order the plasti-goop and it costs $2.00 and $20.00 shipping and handling and takes 6-8 weeks.

    Hmmm....

    Oh, and then you have to design the part so you can tell the printer what to print. So you spend some of your own free time on some sort of CAD program so you can draw it out. Maybe it comes with the software, maybe you have to buy the software. I dunno.

    So then you design the part, pour in the plasti-goop, and out comes your refrigerator part. Total cost: $500 for printer, time spent setting it up, $22 for plasti-goop plus time waiting to get it in the mail (6-8 weeks), maybe additional cost for software, and time you spent in the CAD program designing the part.

    Hmmm....not sure I see the benefit.

    Now, maybe you're lucky and there's a guy down the street with a 3D printer just waiting for people like you who need widgets made for their refrigerator. So he has to keep a stock of different types of plasti-goop for different customers' needs. And of course he will also charge you to design the widget in his CAD program. Unless you're lucky and happen to have a compatible CAD program lying around for his version of 3D printer. And let's say he's generous and only charges you minimum wage at about $10 per hour. Well, probably not because he also has to re-coup his costs (3D printer he took out a loan for, stock of a variety of plasti-goop, charge for computer use, etc.)

    So suddenly that $2.00 cost plus shipping and handling is starting to look FAR better.

    Lesson #1 in economics: custom made stuff is generally more expensive than mass produced stuff. When the refrigerator maker manufactured the refrigerator, they used mass produced parts, and ordered a zillion more for spare parts. That's why they're cheap. Making them from scratch, custom made, is probably gonna be more expensive.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,578
    edited December 1969

    I agree with you Joe about the pie in the sky posts, but the real way it will change the world is in design. The little guy with an idea for an invention or maybe just somebody designing a toy can really benefit form this technology. The value is in producing proof of concept models for showing to clients or investors, or in models that can maybe have casts made of them from which dies and molds could be made cheaply.


    I used to work for a company that made scissors in the early '90s to early '00s. At first blush, not exactly high tech, but looks can be deceiving. Let's say you want a make a scissor for the left handers out there. I'm not sure what went into the early test production phases as far as mock-ups and how they were produced, but I can tell you from the manufacturing end of it, they would send us a two cavity book style mold (or die if you prefer), we would run a series of sample runs, the engineers would take some and look for engineering issues, marketing would take some and use test groups and send samples to trade shows, etc. Then inevitably the molds would be shipped out to be modified or even re-cut (a six week process). I know for a fact that just the cost to cut the final molds alone could be in the $10,000 to $30,000 range each depending on the complexity of the part. We usually had multiple production molds per part, sometimes as many as eight individual molds.


    Since not all products are successful, it seems to me that if you could use a 3D printer to generate some samples and concept pieces to test or take to trade shows, you could save the $10,000 to $30,000 by not cutting a prototype mold for a product that there is no interest in. You'd obviously still need to prototype mold before production began, but you wouldn't waste the money on a maybe.


    Now imagine you're a little guy and not a deep pocketed multi-national. The cost saving alone would be incredible.

  • GarstorGarstor Posts: 1,411
    edited December 1969

    I used to be a DBA for a metal-casting foundry that used the "wax investment" process for making parts. To produce a sample for a customer was extremely expensive since aluminum moulds had to be cut. Then they bought a 3D printer and our design guy was able to model in SolidWorks and print the wax sample. It saved tons of money for the company. I completely concur with evilproducer about the cost saving (plus it was just insanely cool to watch it work...mesmerizing even).

    I hadn't heard about skull fragment replacements being built -- that is very cool. I am sure we'll see greater use of the tech as is it expanded in the future.

  • KorvisBlackKorvisBlack Posts: 0
    edited December 1969


    Hmmm....not sure I see the benefit.

    That's OK. Lots of people didn't see the benefit of the "horseless carriage", airplanes, computers, CDs, DVDs, MP3 Players, etc.

    Many of the "problems" you describe do not exist. Design software is free, mesh correcting software is free, materials are cheap, and strange as this may sound, some people like making things. Loads of people buy bench saws, and other wood working tools costing thousands of dollars. 3D printers and materials are likely to be less costly, not to mention less dangerous. 3D printing is going to be a major game changer.

    I work for a company that sells 3D printers and also does rapid prototyping. Our clients have remarked that we reduce their costs over traditional methods by at least 50% and we can get them their models in 20% of the time. That is progress.

    3D Systems has launched The Cube 3D printer. It is a printer aimed at kids aged 8 to 12. It comes with free software, loads of designs and costs only $1500. The leading company for 3D printing would not develop such a product if they didn't do the market research.

    Like it or not, 3D printing is going to be come more popular and in the not too distant future I believe that at least 20% of households will have one.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    Well, just another take on owning your very own 3d printer - because you think that they're cool and want to make something (anything) with it.
    How many people out there own Poser, Carrara, C4D, Modo, (3d software that requires purchase) etc., that have no intention of using it for profit. Some of us just like to have cool stuff. Even with free Daz Studio, most users who have it will purchase stuff to use with it - not necessarily to make money or to better themselves in some way, but because it's fun and cool.

    I have built a name for myself in this area for my imaginative (but a bit more expensive, in many situations) stone work. My hands, eyes and mind work well together - along with the years of experience towards "seeing" the next step. I'm not worried that a 3d printer is going to change the demand for my work, though I do welcome it - my skeleton and muscles are slowly but surely getting tired of manipulating heavy materials on steep grades! lol

    Anyways, I'm just saying that there should always be a market for "old school" labor and manufacturing. But that's certainly not to say that these 3d printers will not be changing the world! I've seen a 3d model artist from a small firm try his hand at making custom assets for computer game haks - and actually get hired by the game company. I know that there are many people who've started out a hobby and ended up going pro in that field.

    For me, if I spent $500 - $3000 on a 3d printer, I could easily justify that cost including tax and shipping and material costs simply from the cool stuff I'd end up making with it for my own, personal pleasure. Add to that the fact that I enjoy collecting and painting Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, and other miniature figure models. I currently make many of my models myself out of modeling epoxy called Green Stuff (and other various similar mat's) and that takes a lot of time. I certainly don't save money that way - but it definitely sets my army apart from the next guy's - if even in only a small way.

    Now imagine that I made my miniatures using my computer and a 3d printer. There are miniature companies that would be happy to buy them and cast them to add to their product lines - I already know this. Sure... it would likely take forever to get a return from the initial cost of the printer... but that's not why I got the thing in the first place. I bought it because I, like most everybody in this hobby, am a hobbyist. I have many hobbies that cost more than most of the printers mentioned in this thread. My drums are constantly needing up keep and drumsticks have more than quadrupled in price since I started, 32 years ago.

    Now that I have my printer... the one that I bought for fun - because I'm a hobbyist, I'm actually getting real-world experience in making the darned thing work. Feeding the brain is a great thing... and it helps us grow and change... keeping up with the fast pace of the times.

    Well, now that I've strolled so far off what I was originally going to say, I can't remember the point I was going to make.
    Oh well.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    Now that I have my printer... the one that I bought for fun - because I'm a hobbyist, I'm actually getting real-world experience in making the darned thing work. Feeding the brain is a great thing... and it helps us grow and change... keeping up with the fast pace of the times.

    Only said as an example. I do not have a 3d printer... just to clear that up! ;)

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited December 2012


    Hmmm....not sure I see the benefit.

    That's OK. Lots of people didn't see the benefit of the "horseless carriage", airplanes, computers, CDs, DVDs, MP3 Players, etc.

    .

    Right. And some people thought the world is flat. Yes, I realize I'm an old fuddy-duddy, I have no foresight, I'm blind to great inventions, if it was up to me we'd still be using steam engines, blah, blah, blah. Instead of addressing the issue, you attack the person. Yeah, I've been on this forum for a long time, and I know that's how people respond to things.

    And I also realize that, being in the 3D printer business, you have some incentive to hype them a bit. That's fine.

    But I merely gave an example, using real numbers, showing that it might not all be the wonderous dream, that will change the world, that everyone here seems to want to believe. I used numbers. Nobody here has responded with anything close to real numbers, other than "yeah, it will save a lot of money" and "yeah it will change the world", with nothing whatsoever to back it up.

    If you want to make a point and have someone believe you, use a real example with real numbers, or else all of your talk is just talk. And if anyone here can make a real example that shows how this is going to change the world, I'll GLADLY change my mind. And I'll probably invest in a 3D printer company.

    And BTW, as I said before, I'm sure there are some small niche markets that will benefit from this technology. Like making houses on the moon. But I still don't see the economics where it will change the world.

    Just because you want to believe something doesn't make it true.

    Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited December 1969

    And also BTW, keep in mind, as I've stated before, that this technology has already existed for many, many years in the form of CNC and related machinery. You can, today, go online, use a company's software to design an item, transfer it to them, and they will build it for you and ship it to you. Yes, it's subtractive, not additive, but I suggest that you consider that when you give hypotheticals of what this printer technology can do.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited December 1969

    Design software is free, mesh correcting software is free, materials are cheap, and strange as this may sound, some people like making things.

    Sorry, but that's just nonsense. The "software is free" idea is a total myth. Software is not free. Someone wrote it, and usually people want to be paid for their time and expertise. So someone, somewhere, had to pay for it. Which means they have to recover those costs. And how to they do that? They charge a portion of that cost to their customers. Or they jack up the price of their product so that they recover their costs.

    Somehow, you the customer pays for it.

  • CarltonMartinCarltonMartin Posts: 146
    edited December 1969

    That's OK. Lots of people didn't see the benefit of the "horseless carriage", airplanes, computers, CDs, DVDs, MP3 Players, etc.

    Many of the "problems" you describe do not exist. ...I work for a company that sells 3D printers and also does rapid prototyping. Our clients have remarked that we reduce their costs over traditional methods by at least 50% and we can get them their models in 20% of the time. That is progress.

    Like it or not, 3D printing is going to be come more popular and in the not too distant future I believe that at least 20% of households will have one.

    [curmudgeon mode]

    CDs and DVDs started and are nearly already a dead market, within my lifetime. MP3s? There are lossless codecs that don't compress the frequencies of the music I love. There was no reason to accept bad digital music at all, there were better solutions even then, but we all bought into the exciting future. Another example? Home laser printers are pretty much useless now; I've printed maybe ten pages in the past five years, when I used to use it daily, I have replacement components sitting here for it I will never use.

    I seem to have trouble getting too excited about new gadgets these days, so many were barely worth the cost.

    So I don't listen to salesmen much, even a 3D printer salesman who tells me the first/second generation are going to be in 1 in 5 households. I"m quite sure it's useful for prototyping, but how many of us need that at home? I don't need real models. I have them in 3D space in my head and on the screen.

    And until there's a major paradigm shift of some sort we can't begin to foresee, nothing comes for free. Even software I bought at the beginning that would be free to me for the rest of my life has turned out to be an unsustainable business model. The cost is hidden from sight now perhaps, but it's not free.

    [/curmudgeon mode]

  • brianorcabrianorca Posts: 0
    edited December 2012

    Design software is free, mesh correcting software is free, materials are cheap, and strange as this may sound, some people like making things.

    Sorry, but that's just nonsense. The "software is free" idea is a total myth. Software is not free. Someone wrote it, and usually people want to be paid for their time and expertise. So someone, somewhere, had to pay for it. Which means they have to recover those costs. And how to they do that? They charge a portion of that cost to their customers. Or they jack up the price of their product so that they recover their costs.

    Somehow, you the customer pays for it.


    I don't think you quite get the open source model. Sure somebody had to spend time making it, but more often than not, they did it because they (or their employer) saw value in sharing the development with others, because they get back more than they give. (From other developers doing likewise.) And you, the downloader of said open source project, can get it all for free, because the license terms specify that no compensation can be required. An open source project is more than the sum of it's parts. Each developer writes a piece which by itself might be useless. No one of the developers could have done the whole thing. But in the end, they each get a working software that does what they need.

    That's not to say there's not a place for "for profit" software, as I'm pretty sure all in this forum have paid money for what we perceive to be a better product, (ie Carrara) but just saying that there is software available to do all those things that is essentially free to the consumer.

    Post edited by brianorca on
  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited December 2012

    brianorca said:
    I don't think you quite get the open source model.

    Actually, I think the point is that you, and others here, don't get the "business" model. We're talking about a business. Where people do things for profit. To feed their familes and to buy a house and a car. You don't get there by donating your time for free and developing software that you give away. UNLESS there is a way to recoup your costs and get an additional profit by giving away the software "for free". Like DAZ does with much of its software. But that's ONLY because its business model allows it. They also sell content, so the free software is the bait, and the content is the hook. But you still pay for the software, you just don't realize it because it's part of the price of the content. Which is priced so that they recoup the costs of developing and maintaining the software. And, BTW, that is free, not "open source" software.

    I'm not sure why people are trying to say that the world is now running on free, "open source" software. It's not. Carrara isn't free. Neither is any of the software used by most major (and minor) studios. Neither is the vast majority of software used by businesses. Why? Because the companies who use software generally need to control it so that they can use it as they need it, to make a profit. And they can't do that if someone else is controlling how and when it's developed.

    That's why many major studios go as far as hiring developers to make their own software, at GREAT expense, just so they can have control. And others buy commercial software, and pay huge regular fees for the ability to have some say in the development and direct connection with the development and support people. You can't run a business using software that is developed by volunteers with no direct incentive to assist your company in meeting its needs.

    And back to the 3D printers discussion....

    Someone said that the software used by 3D printers is free. It's not. Someone, somewhere, pays for it. And it's probably the people who buy the 3D printer. Nothing whatsoever to do with free and/or "open source" software. If you sell a 3D printer, you need to have control over the software that runs it, so that the software integrates with your printer. Specifically. And continues to work with it as you make changes to the hardware. That is NOT the place for "open source" software.

    Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
  • KorvisBlackKorvisBlack Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    And back to the 3D printers discussion....

    Someone said that the software used by 3D printers is free. It's not. Someone, somewhere, pays for it. And it's probably the people who buy the 3D printer. Nothing whatsoever to do with free and/or "open source" software. If you sell a 3D printer, you need to have control over the software that runs it, so that the software integrates with your printer. Specifically. And continues to work with it as you make changes to the hardware. That is NOT the place for "open source" software.

    The software that comes with a 3D printer can be considered to be an advanced "driver" for the printer. So, yes, the cost is included in the hardware. You can't buy it separately.

    However, MeshLab, Sketchup, 123D Design, 3D Via Shape, MakeHuman.org, MeshMixer, Sculptris, Paint.net and several other programs are available without cost to the user. I am happy to report that I did not pay a cent for any of these programs. Some are open source, some are abandoned projects. Some are watered down versions of the commercial versions - but none of this detracts from the fact that they are available to people for use without charge.

    Some of the programs I use are listed above. With those programs I can create a 3D model, export the model to .STL and correct the model so that the "driver" software of my 3D printer can produce an error free plastic model. Without the design software (free), conversion software (free) and correction software (free), my 3D printer would be about as useful as a small end table, and much more expensive.

    Would I try to make a living with a "hobby level" 3D printer? Only if I were delusional.

  • KorvisBlackKorvisBlack Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Just because you want to believe something doesn't make it true.

    That is so very true!

    Additive technology has been around for over 25 years. It used to be very expensive. Now it is cheap.

    No, not everyone will get a 3D printer for their home. I don't own a table saw, but my neighbor does. Not everyone has a cell phone, while others don't have a traditional home phone and rely totally on their cell. Different people embrace different technologies.

    At the top end, 3D printing technology will allow for the printing of human tissue and organs. Not yet perfected, but give it a few decades.

    Making extraterrestrial or undersea homes, yeah, it will likely do that too - and since they will be "robot" devices, there will be less possibility of human casualties.

    And, yes, 3D printing is for niche markets at this time. I laughed when I found out that the US space program spent tons of $$ to develop the space pen. The Russians used a pencil to solve the same problem. Sometimes "traditional" is better than "newfangled". On that, I do have to agree as well.

    At this point in time, 3D printing is just becoming available to the masses. It will take a while for all the great uses to be uncovered. This is by no means a mature industry. Ground floor, grass roots movement at this time.

    So you won't see any huge benefits across multiple sectors at this time.

    But you will see the technology used and adapted to different industries over time.

    For instance, this summer it was road construction season as usual. Ripping up streets, putting new pavement and curbing in. I have no idea why the city does that - some sort of make work project - but I did see something a bit different this year.

    A machine was using 3D printing technology to build the new curbing. It was a lot faster than traditional methods, required 1/3 the manpower and probably used less material in the process. By a lot faster, I mean that 1/4 mile of curb was laid in 6 hours. The traditional method would have had a crew of 6 guys building the wood forms for the curb. That would take 2 days to build a 1/4 mile of forms. Then the cement mixer would have to deposit the cement the 3rd day, with lots of overflow to be troweled. Then the forms would be taken off and the whole section would get the final finish on the 4th or 5th day, depending on the drying time.

    Obviously this is not an example of 3D printing changing the world, but it is an improvement. I trust that the company that operated the equipment did a proper cost/benefit study and found that profitability would improve by using this new machine.

    I don't know if that qualifies as your "real example" but it sure looks like a good one to me.

    I am sorry if you think I was attacking you when I listed examples of things that people didn't see an immediate benefit. My son uses an MP3 player, I play vinyl records on my Technics turntable. And I prefer tube based amplifiers to solid state devices. Does that make me an old fuddy duddy? I don't know. My son can store many more songs, but I prefer the sound of traditional analog recordings. However, I use the MP3 player in my car since, well, a turntable and records would be a real pain in the butt to deal with while driving. :-)

    So, I will say it again, 3D printing technology will, eventually, be a major game changer. Perhaps not everywhere, but everywhere it makes sense.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited December 1969

    At this point in time, 3D printing is just becoming available to the masses. It will take a while for all the great uses to be uncovered. This is by no means a mature industry. Ground floor, grass roots movement at this time.

    So you won't see any huge benefits across multiple sectors at this time.

    Ahh, okay. So when you say that 20% of households will own one, you really don't know WHY they will own one, and can't really point to a reason, other than your belief that sometime in the future somebody will come up with an awesome use for them that isn't yet obvious to the rest of us.

    I'm sure you understand that even the most useless new technology can be legitimized using that same logic. "I have no clue why it's awesome, but in 20 years I'm sure somebody will come up with something". And in the meantime, you deflect anyone who questions or challenges your beliefs as the equivalent of "flat earth-ers".

    And like I've also said before, today anyone can go online, visit a manufacturer's website, download some software, design a part or a widget or a model, transfer the file to the manufacturer, and they will fabricate the item and ship it to you. You choose the size, and the material, and you don't need to buy an expensive 3D printer. Fast, simple, easy.

    But the fact that THAT process, which is virtually identical to what you're saying will be a game changer, is not even close to being popular with households today, makes me fairly certain that your projection for 3D printers is nothing more than baseless hype.

    Sorry, but like I said before, just because you want to believe something doesn’t make it true.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited December 1969

    Now, on the other hand.... :)

    Maybe 20% of households will recognize the 3D Printer as a replacement for the 1960's toy from Mattel that some might remember. It was called "Creepy Crawlers" and also they had (my favorite) "Vac-U-Form". A device which allows kids of all ages to make their own little toys. Pretty cool. Didn't last long, but a cool idea.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creepy_Crawlers

    And the ads on TV during the Saturday morning cartoons: "...just pour in Plastigoop..."

    Awesome.

  • KorvisBlackKorvisBlack Posts: 0
    edited December 2012

    Now, on the other hand.... :)

    Maybe 20% of households will recognize the 3D Printer as a replacement for the 1960's toy from Mattel that some might remember. It was called "Creepy Crawlers" and also they had (my favorite) "Vac-U-Form". A device which allows kids of all ages to make their own little toys. Pretty cool. Didn't last long, but a cool idea.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creepy_Crawlers

    And the ads on TV during the Saturday morning cartoons: "...just pour in Plastigoop..."

    Awesome.

    I loved those Creepy Crawlers! And you may be right on the money with suggesting that 20% of households will get inexpensive, 3D printers for their kids.

    The Cube is currently $1500, but it was just launched. Prices go down after a while. Perhaps the next version will be half that price.

    Yes, I can see those TV ads during the Saturday morning cartoons " just add the material cartridge and 30 minutes later, your creation is finished".

    I would guess that you are likely correct with your prediction. My 12 year old daughter said she thinks it would be great for kids, it might bring an end to the "lame" toys made by the current toy manufacturers. I would not have thought of that market segment.

    Post edited by KorvisBlack on
  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited December 1969

    KorvisBlack, I was joking...

    Personally, I think your 20% prediction is ludicrous, and nothing more than some guy who wants his company to do well (so he has a job) trying to hype something that, at best, will be a tiny niche market in 20 years.

    Until you can give a reasonable example, which you apparently can't, it's all just hype.

  • cdordonicdordoni Posts: 312
    edited December 1969

    I think another way to look at this would be to examine the DIY (do-it-yourself) market. A compound mitre saw is $250 and up. A table saw is $500 and up. It is not uncommon for home owners to have both, plus assorted other power tools with a combined cost that may be several thousand dollars.

    Look at Lowe's and Home Depot. Over the last 30 years this market has exploded.

    Granted, we are talking about additional software and specialized knowledge, to make use of 3d printer or cnc technology right now. However, in another 30 years I don't think it farfetched for a homeowner to use this technology, along with undoubted interface enhancements, to produce work for home use that does not require any more specialized knowledge than the average individual possesses.

    Consider how prevalent smartphones are now. There's already enough computing power and storage there to run/program a cnc machine. With a faster processor, more memory and storage, they could handle 3d printers as well.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited December 1969

    cdordoni said:
    Look at Lowe's and Home Depot. Over the last 30 years this market has exploded.

    Yes, it has. And the reason is that people can build, repair, and renovate important stuff with what Home Depot sells. Like their houses, and their property.

    Again, give me a good example of what the average household can build with a 3D printer that they would WANT to build, and that is the right size for a 3D printer, and the right material that can be handled by a 3D printer. And once you figure that out, show me where it is cost effective.

    But please, don't compare it to Home Depot. It's totally irrelevant.

  • cdordonicdordoni Posts: 312
    edited December 1969

    Yes, it has. And the reason is that people can build, repair, and renovate important stuff with what Home Depot sells. Like their houses, and their property.

    Again, give me a good example of what the average household can build with a 3D printer that they would WANT to build, and that is the right size for a 3D printer, and the right material that can be handled by a 3D printer. And once you figure that out, show me where it is cost effective.

    But please, don't compare it to Home Depot. It's totally irrelevant.

    The average household will use a 3d printer/cnc machine for the same things they do now with tablesaws, mitre saws and routers. It's not limited to a machine extruding plastic goop.

    Technology is expensive to research and develop. But mass produced it is cheap. That is why there are patents. The companies that spend the money to do the R&D get their money back and then some, as in return-on-investment. If companies did not profit from developing technology, they would not do it.

    Yes, there are still the individuals who work in their basement developing things because they like to, and maybe someday, can cash in on it. This is very different from the large companies that are profit machines. Application of technology generally takes many people and significant time before it results in $.

  • KorvisBlackKorvisBlack Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    While I admit I am a 3D printing technology booster, you can' t really ignore the content on these websites:

    http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/3d-printer-manufacturing.html shows that 3D printing is a $2 BILLION industry, and has a growth of about 7.2% average per year over the past decade.

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/3D_printing_products/3D_printer_services/prweb9719642.htm shows projections for the 3D printing industry

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2012/03/27/3d-printing-industry-will-reach-3-1-billion-worldwide-by-2016/ for more projections by Forbes.

    http://moneymorning.com/2012/03/08/3d-printing-how-desktop-factories-will-create-the-next-1-trillion-industry/ deals specifically with "home & hobby" type 3D printers

    The above links are from industry analysts, investment gurus and financial wonks. These people are experts at understanding market trends.

    As to 3D printers in the home, all you need to do is look at the growing maker movement. http://makerfaire.com/ As people get back into the habbit of creating things for themselves, the maker movement will grow even more. Most 3D printers under $3000 use ABS filament that, oddly enough, produces parts that are just as usable as "original" ABS parts. This material is cheap, under $2 per cubic inch. There is no "plastigoop"; the equipment operation is clean and easy.

    Obviously the market is growing. Why? Because people who are buying these things are finding a use for the technology. And this use has a cost/performance benefit, or people would not buy them. Is it necessary to identify a specific example? Hell, no! Obviously there are thousands of people who already have their own specific example of how this technology improves their processes; otherwise these devices would not be selling so well.

    And this industry is just taking off. I remember when 640K of RAM was considered the "most you will ever need" and a 20MB "Winchester" hard drive was HUGE storage. That was only 29 years ago. In my city, 98% of the population has at least 1 computer. That 20% of homes will have a 3D printer within the next decade is not a crazy projection.

    Yes, 3D printing technology will be a major game changer - not everywhere - but everywhere it makes sense.

  • Eric3dddEric3ddd Posts: 64
    edited December 1969

    That 20% of homes will have a 3D printer within the next decade is not a crazy projection.

    I agree. At $2-3K in the current economic climate, unless you have a profitable business model, 3D printers are an expensive toy. But when prices come down to the $500 range, they'll become more common as long as some conditions are met.

    Right now, we have a similar problem as the early VCR did. Very cool technology but not much to do with it.

    In the future, I see 3D printers being used almost like Star Trek replicators. They'll become simple to use (just add media like replacing inkjet cartridge or a Keurig coffee pod) and will connect directly to an online store (iTunes for 3D model). Select an item, click "buy" and it materializes in the printer. Ease-of-use and low price are two keys for 3D printers to expand beyond our world of techno-geeks and into the general population.

    The other key is a good use. Making gadgets or replacement parts might be fun for some, but not enough for the general public. For VCRs, the key was workout videos. What's the third key to make 3D printers a must-have for the general public? If I knew it, I'd be a richer man.

  • KorvisBlackKorvisBlack Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Eric3ddd said:
    The other key is a good use. Making gadgets or replacement parts might be fun for some, but not enough for the general public. For VCRs, the key was workout videos. What's the third key to make 3D printers a must-have for the general public? If I knew it, I'd be a richer man.

    $500 3D printers are already available. The issue is surface quality and layer thickness. When these REALLY inexpensive devices can print in layers that are 0.05 mm or thinner (50 microns), you will see a more rapid adoption of the technology in homes.

    Home applications would include:

    Making repair parts for plastic "things" that have broken - knobs, switches, handles, etc
    Kids designing and making their own toys
    School projects (from grade 3 to college, there are a LOT of projects!)
    People who "have an idea for a product" and use FREE software to design it, then build the prototype at home!
    People who are into AC planes, cars, boats etc who can design and build their own craft, or modify existing designs
    Back yard auto restorers - they could "print" replacement trim and badges

    Although all the above examples are not a huge market segment on their own, collectively they would help drive the market. Just think, Apple only "owns" less than 15% of the personal computer market, but that is considered a "huge" portion for one company.

    More commercial applications of "cheap" 3D printers: architects and artists could use them to create solid renditions of their designs!

    So, yes, you are correct that when the price drops and the quality improves for "home" 3D printers that there will be a HUGE amount of growth in the industry. However, I don't see any one "key" application being the driving force. It will be the adoption of the technology by a broad spectrum of users (and uses) that will be the primary reason for adoption of the technology.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,407
    edited January 2013

    Actually you've only scratched the surface of the possible applications. You might check out some of the many online services who already perform the services I mentioned (online CNC, etc.):

    You can make parts for:

    "Cars, Bikes, Aircraft, Musical instruments, Watercraft, Optical devices, Sensors, Models, Electronic devices, Enclosures, Clocks, Machinery, Engines, Furniture, Jewelry, Jigs, Telecom, Lighting, Medical devices, Photographic devices, Robots, Sculptures, Sound equipment, Sporting equipment, Tooling, Toys and more."

    And they use a whole list of processes, including:

    "CNC Milling, CNC Turning (Lathe), Rapid Prototyping, Laser Cutting, Waterjet Cutting, Plasma Cutting, Punching, Bending, Casting, Wire EDM, Plastic Injection Molding and more."

    And if you want to investigate more, here's just one of the many companies who perform the service, though you can Google "online CNC" or something like that and get a whole list of them:

    http://www.emachineshop.com/

    Which is why I have such difficulty believing 3D printers are going to change the world. You can already do that and more. Today. Right now. And have 20% of the people here ever used such a service? Or even know of anyone who has? Or were even aware of the service?

    I kinda doubt it...

    Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
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