Tom's Hardware has a thought provoking article on the notion of 3D printer "vaporware". "Vaporware" originally referred to software that was splashingly announced, but didn't quite come through with the goods later. Scott Dunham of Tom's Hardware believes the same phenomenon is now occurring in 3D printing.
It's not happening at the corporate level, but instead at the personal 3D printer market, where today we see new 3D printers being announced seemingly daily. Some of these projects will succeed, while others may not.
We agree with Dunham that it is critical for consumers new to 3D printing to have a good experience, as personal 3D printing is now at Gartner's "Peak of Inflated Expectations". Any bad press could very dramatically affect progress of the industry. Dunham advises:
Manufacturers of desktop 3D printers — whether a small startup operation or the MakerBots and 3D Systems of the world — need to focus on adding value to their products. Making cheaper and cheaper 3D printers that are unreliable, constrictive and have poor output quality doesn't help anyone in the long run. Being intentionally vague about how a product actually works because it's design hasn't even been finished before it starts being sold doesn't help either.The companies that can make a more reliable, more accurate and consistent desktop 3D printer are always going to come out ahead of anyone that needs to engage in vaporwarelike tactics to build hype around their mystery products.
Via Tom's Hardware