Is 3D Printing Technology’s Rapid Progress Hurting the Industry?

By on May 28th, 2014 in Ideas


We’re wondering if the constant and rapid developments in 3D printing technology could hinder growth. But how could this be? There has never been a time in history when more 3D printing technology can be purchased at such low prices?

Consider the scenario of shopping for a 3D printer. If you’re one of those “just buy the thing on the store shelf and get it over with” people, you’re not who we’re thinking about. No, we’re thinking about those who carefully research their USD$1-3,000 purchase and select the right machine for their situation. 

Here’s the problem: every month (and sometimes weekly) a new machine offering appears, providing significant performance or cost advantages. If you purchase a machine today, will it be obsolete tomorrow? 

The answer is, yes. 

Worse, the current costs of typical personal 3D printers is still in the thousand(s) of USD$. This means a purchase should “last a while”, and therefore your purchase should select a machine that will last you that long. However, it’s likely your purchase will be obsolete very soon – and even ridiculously so during the lifetime of your use of it. 

So, what to do? 

It’s a decision you must make. If you desperately want specific new features, you’ll have to wait until they emerge, but if you really want to do 3D printing at home or office, your only choice is to purchase a unit today. Be prepared to watch enviously in subsequent months as your pals purchase better machines at lower costs. But at least you’ll be printing.