It seems that some of the popular media are starting to catch on to 3D Printing, with the notion that gifts can be made rather than purchased. Perhaps this is a reaction against the fear of oppressive crowds at the shops, but we think it’s a natural conclusion to 3D printing capability, which can produce items perfectly suited for everyone.
BBC feels that:
. . . technology is now coming online that could allow you to receive your goods straight away. As the cost of 3D printing hardware begins to drop, bespoke, printable products may be about to hit the market.
Meanwhile, BigThink says:
There was a time when making a gift at home meant knitting a sweater. You can still do that if you wish, but in five years, you could quite painlessly manufacture all kinds of presents like toys, bowls, and lamps at home. How? By using a special printer in which you can print almost any 3D object.
While it’s probably going to be a few years before you’ll see appropriately capable 3D printers in many homes, you can use 3D print services today to achieve the same effect. However, we see some issues with services today.
Cost – items are sometimes surprisingly more expensive than one might expect, especially if you select certain materials for printing. We understand that the objects really cost that much to 3D print, but many people will incur severe sticker shock, having been accustomed to prices of cheap Chinese mass-produced goods.
The other challenge is model selection. If you’re not an experienced 3D modeler, you’re faced with choosing from a perhaps limited library and sometimes unable to customize size or other important parameters. While methods of storing, distributing and searching model repositories have really improved, there is still a long way to go before Joe Consumer will be satisfied.