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”.