There are several questions always asked by the public about personal 3D printing whenever they are exposed to the technology. They want to know:
- How big of an object can I print?
- Is there a way to get rid of those unsightly layer lines?
- Why does printing take so long?!!
The answers have been sought by those making filament-based 3D printers:
- Create a larger build volume
- Print in even higher resolutions
- Speed up the mechanical movements of the extrusion
But there's a problem. These factors are intimately related. If you print larger items, it takes vastly longer to complete. If you want higher quality prints, it takes much longer to complete.
That's the paradox. To improve key factors concerning consumers, you must compromise on the third. Conversely, if you speed up printing you typically reduce quality or size. There is no way to solve the problem because the factors diverge.
What does this mean? We suspect it means there is a limit to what can be achieved with plastic extrusion technology. And we also suspect current machines are beginning to approach those limits.
This also means there's an opening for innovation to fill the gap between current tech and consumer desires.
What will that innovation be?