"For the average American consumer, 3D printing is ready for showtime,” No,

(Tony Hine (Nifty Access)) #1

"For the average American consumer, 3D printing is ready for showtime,”

No, I don’t think so… theres to much involved … however, 3D printing will have an ever increasing impact on the hobbyist market.

(Shachar Weis) #2

3D printing will save you money only if your time is worthless. (It’s still super fun though, just don’t do it for the money)

(ThantiK) #3

I see too many people who see a 3D printer, and immediately go “I’m going to make so much money off of this!”. I tell them I won’t talk to them if that’s their only goal.

(Clint O'Connor) #4

Agree! It will be different for our children though. Making things will be second nature.

(Roger Waggener) #5

Whoever wrote that article is defs drinking the Kool-Aid. Even high $$$ printers like Makerbot are not plug-and-print for non tech-savvy consumers.

And yeah, I guess if you need to put in a fresh supply of hokey knick-knacks like garlic presses and spoon holders you can save some money, but as far as printing stuff to USE- it’ll mostly be parts for your printer and the very occasional drawer handle or small broken plastic widget.

I enjoy designing and printing things, but I don’t have any illusions of making any money from it.

(Brian Evans) #6

I have argued this point before: if 3d printing is not ready for the average consumer, then what exactly are the criteria for any device to be ready for a consumer? Is there somewhere that states a certain % of market share has to be saturated for it to be acceptable? Further, does this imply that the average consumer is an idiot and too inept to pick up a new technology?

This is ridiculous. I even heard this out of Scott Crump and Bre Pettis! They dont get it. I dont care who you are or what you bring to the table there will be something about 3dp that is hard to learn. But it’s relatively easy and anyone can do it. Anyone that says the average consumer can’t handle it is on some superiority kick because they must think they alone are in possession of some unique quality that made to learn new tech that others dont posses.

(Roger Waggener) #7

It’s not about intelligence. It’s about the patience, determination, and elbow grease required to get any printer to satisfying, reliable operation.

People are fooled by the hype, spend some money and when they don’t get instant gratification are left with a bad taste in their mouth. Especially those that see a cottage industry business opportunity.

(Roger Waggener) #8

The average consumer isn’t looking for a new hobby, they’re looking for a fun toy. Today (maybe not next year) there is no 3d printer that is a fun toy out of the the box unless you enjoy tinkering with it to get it working properly.

Oh, AND enjoy the constant tinkering required tho keep it working right.

(Shachar Weis) #9

There are two main obstacles that stand between 3D printers and consumer market. The first is that current printers are finicky devices, requiring careful calibration and constant care. The second is that 3D design and modeling is really hard, has a huge learning curve and most people have zero experience with the subject.

(Brian Evans) #10

@Roger_Waggener I think that comment is a bit condescending and short sided really. Sure this stuff is “hard” but the folks I talk to all the time - from students returning to the university after being laid off to retirees attending conventions looking for a new project - are all eager to learn and willing to put the work in.

I remember my first Atari 400 with the cassette data drive - that was a pain in the ass to learn and I was young. But all pcs at one time were hard to learn and always broke down but look where we are. And even in 1979, that Atari 400 was still sold to the “average consumer” all the same.

3D printing doesn’t need to be easier or simpler for broader adoption. It just needs to keep getting better. Just like the Atari XE was better than the 400 before it…

(Roger Waggener) #11

We’re talking about apples and oranges Brian. The people you describe generally tend to meet the qualifications I described. They are not ‘average consumers’. They understand they’re undertaking a project.

I don’t think it’s condescending to say many people who want to try 3d printing are not interested in learning how fix their printers. Many people who drive cars have zero understanding of what’s under the hood.

The difference is, today anyway, you have to understand what’s under the hood of your printer to keep it working.

Do you realize that not everybody who wants to play with technology cares about technology? That’s not condescension. That’s how people work.

(ThantiK) #12

@Brian_Evans I honestly think before it will ever be ready for the mainstream is the point at which we’re working with photocurable resin. It isn’t about some superiority complex, it’s about the cold, hard truth that the general public are very impatient, and unwilling to learn. Hell, how many of the general public set of their own 2D printers? From what I’ve seen, very few of them.

(Shachar Weis) #13

The car analogy is a good one. I like driving, yet I have no idea how to fix or tune my car, and I don’t want to know. My wife is very interested in 3D printing, but she doesn’t want to know how to build or fix printers. Once 3D printers are at that stage, they will be adopted by the mass consumer.

(Brian Evans) #14

@ThantiK Photopolymer resin is so not the answer. Not even close. Resin is nasty, it takes a lot to clean up prints, and basically SLA doesnt solve any of the part design challenges that we might associate with FDM - it just has new and different challenges. I’m glad we have a Form1 now for the university for those projects that need an extra bit of detail, smaller scale, or surface finish but its not going to replace the need for some kind of FDM machine sitting next to it. The Form1 is just not that much easier than most FDMs and I would simply never let a kid under maybe 12 or 14 mess with the resin.

(Timothy Marion) #15

@Brian_Evans sorry Brian, relatively easy is a relative statement. People still call the help desk asking “Which key is the any key”. My sister is 50+ years old, a college graduate and lead nurse in a NIC unit. She gets her email by clicking on the “thingy”. 3dp not ready for primetime.

(Brian Evans) #16

By that logic email is not “ready for primetime” then.

(Roger Waggener) #17

Possibly not, but the need/desire is great enough that people learn to click the thingy.

The problem with 3d printing and the mainstream is that it’s no where near clicking a thingy. If it were we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

(Roger Waggener) #18

And the fact that few people care enough about garlic presses, spoon holders, and toothpaste tube squeezers to learn to click the thingy even if there was a thingy.
3d printing can be great fun, but in order for it to really take off with the masses it must fulfill a real need or fulfill a desire instantly and well.

Currently it does neither

(Mike Creuzer) #19

The ‘Average consumer’ needs a 3d printer kiosk that is no harder to use than a RedBox. Push a button to select what they want, insert money, get part.

The ‘crafty’ type folks can probably get along with today’s pre-built hobbiest machines. But if the printer quits working, it’s going to need to go into the shop - just like a sewing machine. They can handle general light maintenance and the like.

The tinkerers, well, that’s pretty much the people here today.

(Aaron Eiche) #20

A 3d printer is a prototyping tool, realistically it wouldn’t be used to generate a product for an individual. I can see this changing a few years down the line when materials and capabilities have grown a bit more. For the time being, it’s a great way to produce robot parts for me.