Innovation that drives simplicity and better accessibility represents the future. This is exactly how 2D printer started popularising and claimed its share of business in the ‘80s. However, innovation neither stops nor limits one’s ability to the gain from technological advancement. With the onset of 3D printing technology in 1984, by Chuck Hill of 3D Systems Corp, this justification reinstated.
Could anyone until then thought of creating solid objects from digital data? It was only by cutting or drilling objects that were used for traditional machining.
In the 21st century, the use of 3D Printing or Additive manufacturing technology was embraced in almost all major industry segments starting from construction, industrial design, locomotive, aerospace, engineering, defence, medical, bio-technology and chemical industries to fashion, and lifestyle, food and retail sectors. Today, the market for 3D printing and related services is also growing exponentially as expected long ago.
However, until now, only large companies and tech giants could afford to use these 3D printers for their high-end operations. The cost to own a 3D printer was so high that people could not afford to buy it for household purpose. Now, after two decades of heavy industrial use, the price of 3D printing machine has dropped dramatically.
Industry forecasters strongly believe that the future of 3D printing lies in the hand of common people (You and Me). It is not just going to be a property of the big spenders. With the technology penetrating into our daily lives, everybody can have his or her own printing factory at home. Yes, with personal 3D printer you can actually build an object that you have always dreamt of. Just think of a digital model or a prototype that you want to design and decorate virtually, and it is ready to be built-in. Whether you use a 3D scanner or a printed object for this, the physical model will be just similar to your virtual model. The replication is so smooth and high in precision that anyone would wonder what more to expect.
Given all these facts, don’t you think that personal 3D printers would bring the biggest revolution in coming years similar to what Internet did years back?
Now let us see what has driven this surge of growth.
As plenty of new 3D printers have started flooding the crowd funding websites, it is apparent that the supply is never less than the demand. Several companies, venture capitalists and project owners have joined together to develop more and more affordable 3D printers for personal use. Early adopters, enthusiasts and DIY communities in association with hackers have also driven such projects in order to produce desktop based 3D printers. These initiatives along with the easily available technology and economical resources have brought 3D printing in public.
RepRap is one such 3D printing project in the desktop category. They aim at producing free and open source software (FOSS) 3D printer which has the ability to replicate itself faster and build more new machines. Thus, the development of open source 3D printers has gained interest gradually, followed by further customisations.
2010 was the year when the cost of 3D printers dropped significantly. As various companies and start ups started selling parts to produce various RepRap designs, the product appeared in the market more than ever. Several other manufacturers such as Rapide 3D, Solidoodle also contributed to this growth.
The result is what you see today. Anyone and everyone can use 3D printer as a manufacturing tool of personal products at their home. With super level of customisations available, small business owners can also make use of personal 3D printer for smaller client projects.
Now all that printing facility is available with your favourite 3D printer at as low as £999, you certainly expect something more. Yes, with a 3D printer from a reputed brand, you sure are going to enjoy plug-in and play simplicity; cable-free printing freedom; wider choice of colour and design and finally a higher level of safety for the children.
What is next you are waiting for? Let’s explore and get them.