Lots of debate on this subject right now.

Lots of debate on this subject right now. What do you think? Will you print at home someday or pay someone to print your 3D files?

At home you have more limitations regarding material and the hassle of maintaining your printer. I would lean towards the convenience of paying a provider.

Ah, but when its 2am and an idea hits for how you can join piece A to piece B, you can just get up and do it. Nothing beats having one at home, plus you save yourself a small fortune if you like to repair everything instead of landfill.

I think we will have the best of both worlds. There will defiantly be 3D printers in the home. Just based on the fact that we all have desktop printers in our homes. For more complex or long term projects I think businesses that revolve around 3D printing will prosper. The businesses that integrate home printing with their services will be the ones who will do really well. Either way things are going to get interesting.

What about a community printing location? Kinda like a Makerspace, but specific to 3D printing? @Helena I get where you’re coming from with the “2am idea”, but what if you have a place within 10 minutes travel time (assuming that it’s in a city) that you can send your print to, then go to and see how it turned out? It would have to be a 24 hour access facility, a la 24-hour gyms though.

I like the option to go use someone else’s printer rather than maintain my own, either the local maker-space or a commercial printing service. I understand the desire to have one at home, but I don’t print enough to make it worth the maintenance time just for myself, so I’d rather that the money I spend on it go toward maintaining a printer that other people use too.

@David_Knaack , what would you consider a fair price for having that kind of maintenance-free access? And what would be most beneficial to you: accessing it on a per-time basis, or on a monthly membership type basis?

Great commentary! How long do you think it will be before we hear about employees getting reprimanded or fired for using a work-owned 3D printer for personal use?

@John_Schneider I am in Sydney, nothing like that here, and if it was, it would be prohibitively expensive.

@Helena , ok, but let’s suppose that IF there was, and IF it wasn’t prohibitively expensive and if instead of an Ultimaker-grade printer, it was a $20,000 commercial printer? Depending on your printing volume and frequency, would that be an attractive option?

@John_Hauer , I can definitely see where that will be an issue. What I think the solution will end up being is similar to what my university does for regular printer allocations: every student has a scannable ID card that is loaded with a set amount of funds every semester. If a student wants more on it, they have to use their own money. Whenever they need to print something, they much first scan the card and the proper amount is deducted.

I imagine that large companies will do this, that way the people who need to use the printer on a daily basis will have a lot of printer funds, whereas your average Joe won’t have many at all, unless they want to take some out of their paycheck or something.

That’s a business waiting to happen @John_Schneider

I’m thinking the exact same thing @John_Hauer . It’s probably showing a bit, based on the questions I’ve been asking, but I’m working on a business for 3D printing, just working on determining which facet(s) of the industry I should tackle initially.

@John_Schneider of course. Particularly if they can print in a variety of materials like http://www.shapeways.com/

It will be just like 2D printing. I remember I used to pay someone to use their mono HP LaserJet and photocopier. Now I have my own multi function Color LaserJet that fulfills most of my 2D printing needs, and I use Vistaprint for the rest…

I imagine I will have a 3D printer that can do basic stuff/materials, and go to professionals for more.

@John_Schneider I suppose that what I’d be willing to pay would depend on print quality and service level, not so much on speed, unless it’s really fast.

If it’s something like a maker-space, where I just have access to the printer and have to fix or adjust it myself when it isn’t working right, I would not pay much more than materials cost (this is my current option, help buy materials and assemble the printer, then help maintain it).

On the other hand, if it were more like a commercial copy-shop with adjoining coffee shop (where I can sit and revise my model and have a cup while I wait for the print), with someone there to make sure everything is properly tuned and my prints come out nicely without me having to fiddle with the machine much, that’s something I’d be willing to pay a bit more for.

How much is too much? That’s a good question. There is such a wide difference between small parts and large parts that it’s hard to have a linear scale. I probably wouldn’t mind a flat minimum rate around $5 (or less, with purchase of a latte :slight_smile: ), with additional charges for material and time after an initial limit is exceeded (15 minutes or whatever).

I’d also be willing to pay a little extra for immediate walk-in service vs. submitting the model via the web and then picking up at a later time.

I think home 3D printers will be here to stay but will keep limitations on accuracy, speed, size, warping, material, color.
Fablabs and more so tech-shops will have slightly better and bigger ones.
So people with and without their own 3D printers will go to services that offer to produce using very expensive machines.
Much like people have their own laser printers but go to a copy-shop for volumes, photos, posters,…

3D printers in homes of DIY-type people will find a place more common then CNC machines did until now because they are lighter, less noisy, much less dirty and have easier to obtain and store material.
They will find a place with a very limited number of artists and “regular folks” who aren’t much of the usual “DIY home improvement” kind.

Yes and no @Marcus_Wolschon - you can easily build any machine you want, and overcome all those limitations - we do so on a regular basis.
The biggest limitation is TIME and MONEY.
Now, say an established American company come in and was competitively priced, then of course time is money, and they save you time and therefore money.

No it wouldn’t. Because with an american company it would add currency-conversion fees, transatlantic shipping, customs and import sales tax and a lot of waiting to the cost. :wink:

You also forgot one limitation…space.
A DIY workshop has only a limited supply of space. :wink:

Btw, wouldn’t “american” be written without a capital a as it’s not a proper name like “America”? I’m not sure.

I was thinking of the company coming HERE.