Once the initial magic of being able to print things for yourself, how do you explain the need for 3D printers to friends? We have some ideas.
When you have a 3D printer there seems to be a typical sequence of questioning, which often goes something like this:
Wow! What is that thing?
How big can it print?
Why would I need one?
It’s the last question that is sometimes difficult to answer. Why, indeed, do you, or anybody, own a 3D printer? For some it was obtained to satisfy the curiosity of new devices, but beyond that there should be a purpose.
We think it’s best if you explain it like this:
- 3D printed objects can be more expensive to produce than typical mass-manufactured items
- But - each 3D printed item can be unique, a design that has never existed before
- Therefore, 3D printers are best for items that are one-of-a-kind, customized items that are fit for a single purpose or individual
Further, 3D printers can also be useful to produce “short runs” of items when the number of items is less than the minimum required for a mass-manufacturing run. If you need a million pieces, you’re off to a major manufacturer; if you need only hundreds, consider 3D printing.