A 3D Printer In Every Home

The other day someone asked me, “So now 3D printers will start showing up in every home, right?” I replied with a question, “What makes you say that?“. The reply I got wasn’t something that I hadn’t heard before. “Well, every home has a 2D printer and the cost of 3D printers are going down“.

OK. I need to say something here. There is a reason why a 2D printer is as common as a computer in homes today. To print a document, you need to first type out the content in some software and then a push a button. Anyone can do that. To 3D print something, you need to create a 3D model, which is something not everyone can do. Even those who can do 3D modeling often don’t know how to create a 3D model that can actually be 3D printed. 3D printing is not a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) kind of a thing. You can’t create geometry whichever way you want and expect it to pop out of your 3D printer and look exactly how it appeared on your computer screen.

For those who don’t want to mess with 3D modeling there is always the option to take someone else’s 3D printable model and print it. If you don’t think you will 3D print something often or if you don’t want to mess with a 3D printer at all, you can have the model 3D printed elsewhere and have it shipped to you.

My point is just because fishing rods are cheap everyone doesn’t go around catching their own fish. You should have the time, the patience, the technique (which isn’t too difficult in the case of fishing) and most importantly, you should actually enjoy fishing before you decide to buy a fishing rod.

Personally, I don’t think a 3D printer is for everyone. Although the way things are going, everyone will soon be able to use a 3D printer quite effectively from the comfort of their homes. As people driving the technology we can try and create an environment whereby someone can have a 3D printer in their home. Whether they want to is an entirely different question. And it has very little to do with price.

One of my favorite 3D prints. My friend Al Dean from DEVELOP3D christened it “Impossiballs”.

  • Charles Culp

    It’s not just a matter of “want to go fishing”. What are you going to do with your 3D printed stuff? You don’t want a 3D printed chair, too fragile and too ugly. A desk? Sure, but that’s massive amounts of plastic, and wood looks nicer. A pen? Sorry, you can’t just “print”  an ink pen.

    What on earth is the average person going to use a 3D printer for? I use our Dimension machine at work all the time, to make mock-up prototypes. I’m not sure what I would “prototype” at home. Sure, there’s the novelty part. But once that wears off, then what?

  • Just because we have been using 3D printing for prototyping, it doesn’t that is the only thing it is could and should be used for.

    And speaking of 3d printed chairs, I’m assuming you haven’t seen this: http://www.freedomofcreation.com/shop/order.php?pid=834


  • murray

    I spent my childhood sticking model kitsets together.  Planes, cars, ships, what have you.  I was limited by the kits I could afford to buy, and they don’t make kitsets of everything that everyone wants kitsets of.  In addition to that, kitset builders tend to build in scales, and there are a range of conventional scales.  The reprap (open source 3D printer crew) community also looks at ways of recycling, and turning the blocks of packing foam that are being blown around the street outside my home, or discarded bottles, into the model kits that I used to love, or even plain old Lego blocks, isn’t that far away.   And although CAD only entered the retail price ranges maybe fifteen or so years ago, nowadays there are lots of low-cost and no-cost applications that run on mundane hardware.  Kids are playing with Sketchup in schools right now, and they’ll run rings around us eventually.

  • Lutz Feldmann

    While you are discussing – it is already developed and ready to use


    • murray

       origo site says  “right now, I am just an idea”  

  • Ofcourse, u r exactly true wat u hav said. Even I too remember my olden days dude !!!

  • Anonymous

    Great post. Thanks. Pleased I got chance to read it and find out more.

  • Siddharth

    And in every hospital? Transplant jaw made by 3D printer claimed as first.  See – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16907104

  • Rhianna

    The use of 3D printers is an interesting discussion. I think more practically the use of a 3D printer in the home would not be to design your own pieces to print, but to download replacement parts, or homewares. This would mean instead of buying an entirely new vacuum (for example), or requesting a part that probably can’t be sent on its own from a manufacturer, you could replace that small plastic part yourself. Maybe you could even print most of a vacuum yourself and only need to purchase some additional items from the retailer. It could dramatically change the way we consume.