A year ago we posted our "wishes for 2010". Did any of them come true? Let's take a look:
A consumer capable 3D printer: This didn't happen, but clearly big steps were taken in that direction. Three events were key for us:
- MakerBot's Thing-O-Matic, which automated much of the operation of a 3D printer and brought the device closer to consumer capability. However, the *Assembly* of said unit is definitely not for consumers. By the way, they were selling them from a retail location for the first time ever, and that's kind of consumerish, too.
- 3D Systems' acquisition of Bits From Bytes, which positioned the largest commercial 3D printer manufacturer squarely in the consumer and academic space.
- PP3DP's inexpensive, fully assembled, almost foolproof Up! 3D printer, which showed the possibilities (and challenges) of simplification for consumers.
Easy 3D Software. Let's face it, 3D development is not a trivial matter and it does require a lot of learning to become fully capable. That's just not going to change. However, there were some developments in 2010:
- Google Sketchup 8 was released, including some interesting features. This free tool is the gateway for many people introduced to the technology.
- Anarkik3D released version 2 of their haptic-based 3D design software. While not yet widely used, this approach could make things a lot easier for 3D modellers.
Mainstream media coverage that isn't "Star Trek". Media coverage of 3D printing hasn't significantly changed, but we believe it has increased somewhat. In particular, several posts from BBC News and the Economist have shone serious light on the technology. But most people still have no idea what you're talking about.
What else happened in 2010? You might want to peruse Joris' amazing summary of 2010 3D printing events at i.Materialise.