In January 2011 we posted a short list of three “wishes” for 3D printing in 2011. Now that 2011 has officially been placed on the expired list, we thought we check in on our wishes to see if any of them actually happened. Here’s the results:
We wished for “A capable and assembled 3D printer for under USD$1500.” At the beginning of 2011 that was indeed a wish, as most assembled 3D printers seemed to retail around USD$2500. That’s all changed now, with several assembled options for USD$1500 or even cheaper. We thought this was an important wish as removing the assembly barrier would enable many more consumers to get into 3D printing. And it did.
We also wished for “Commercial manufacturers enter the consumer market.” 3D Systems had taken a small step by acquiring BitsFromBytes, but we wanted more. That sorta happened, but in an unusual manner: 3D systems acquired BotMill and ZCorp. BotMill is a consumer machine and ZCorp’s technologies might migrate towards consumers in the future. Meanwhile, Stratasys and Objet, the two remaining industry commercial giants, continue to focus on industrial applications.
Finally, we wished for “A consumer-oriented online market for 3D models.” We wanted something different from the popular open source Thingiverse repository. It didn’t seem to happen, so we did this one ourselves by inventing Mallyable! It’s a new source for low-cost 3D models specifically designed for 3D printing.
So yes, we got our wishes in 2011. What are yours for 2012?