General Question

mathsphysicsnormally's avatar

Why do you think 3D printers haven't taken off yet?

Asked by mathsphysicsnormally (324points) January 25th, 2011

They’ve been around for a few years now but they haven’t really caught on yet, maybe because of cost but why else?

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7 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Well, what is the average consumer going to do with it?
I reckon, not much. Most of the time it will be just standing around, catching dust.

YoBob's avatar

I think it is a combination of factors.

Firstly, price. A commercial 3D printer is darned expensive.

There are, of course, plans available for an open source version of a 3D printer that you can build pretty cheaply. But this is definitely a project for the pocket protector crowd (like myself).

But, even if you bought one or built your own, what exactly would you print? Unless you are a serious tinkerer it would be pretty hard to justify the cost of owning one.

mrentropy's avatar

@YoBob For the build-yer-owns, what would cheap be? I had seen kits for the $1200 to $2500 range. Have they come down much?

If I could print out dirty pictures on one I’d be more amendable to getting one. You know, for art…

Thammuz's avatar

Have you seen the fucking price? It’s 1000 pounds! It costs more than my whole PC!

funkdaddy's avatar

Besides cost, which you mention, but is the dominant reason. If they were $100, you’d see a lot more, at 25–100x that, they’re going to be a niche item for the time being.

- Most print in a particular medium, and those aren’t particularly strong, flexible, or useful beyond modeling purposes. Most people don’t do much modeling around the house or the office.
– When we do need a custom part, it’s rarely one I would make out of plastic, sugar, or resin as my first choices
– They aren’t easy to use or design with. 3d design isn’t rocket science, but it’s a bit tougher than word processing
– a box made of plywood and zipties will never be a widespread consumer product. It’s not meant to be, and this isn’t a knock on the makers, it just hasn’t matured to that point yet

YoBob's avatar

@mrentropy “MakerBot has a kit that runs around $1200. However, If I remember right, the last time I checked (couple of years back) there were open source plans for building one with material readily available at the local hardware store for around $500. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the links to the plans. I’ll post them if I can dig them up again.

YoBob's avatar

Ok… Here it is

Costs around $400 to build according to Wikipedia.

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