3d Prinitng is Overhyped – but has Potential

I came across an awesome article by Nick Allen (a full time 3D printing industry worker), on Gizmodo entitled – Why 3D Printing Is Overhyped (I Should Know, I Do It For A Living).    Nick provides a very detailed and thoughtful insight into how 3D printing is massively over-hyped by the media – and misunderstood by the general public.

The average consumer is hearing more and more about all the amazing things that 3D printing is capable of (or may be capable of in the future), and this is generating all sort of expectations (many of them false)  over what impact it may imminently have on their lives.

The mentality now seems to be that, in the future, we’ll be able to download our products or make them ourselves with CAD programs, apps and 3D scanners, then just print them out, either at home, or in localised print shops.

People see images or videos of 3D printed mechanisms, 3D printed tables, material 3D prints, and of course guns — and then they see that they can buy one for under $US800 and think “WOW!” I can do all this at home.

Nick goes on to highlight that many people have unrealistic expectations of the current capabilities (and limitations) of 3D printing in areas.  Many of the high profile (and often experimental) 3D Printed objects are simply not (and may never) be achievable by a consumer grade 3d Printer, but despite this there are still huge benefits and opportunities that 3D printing technologies can provide.

According to Nick :

The future for consumer 3D printing lies in the potential for people to create, invent and share ideas.

3D printing will continue to grow in areas like the prototyping market, low-volume production runs (on very high-end machines), medical, aerospace — the list goes on.