We’ve just read not one, but two articles from reputable publications that appear to dismiss the notion of personal 3D printing. TechCrunch’s Jon Evans wrote “3D Printers Are Not Like 2D Printers: A Rant”, while Scientific American’s Gary Stix wrote “3-D Printing: The Great American Tchotchke Machine”.
Stix’s premise is that personal 3D printers are not particularly useful and would typically be used to print tchotchkes (a slavic word meaning trinkets). He says:
The ability to create the tchotchke of your choice doesn’t seem to measure up exactly to the changes wrought at work and home by XyWrite, Visicalc or other early PC applications.
Having a tchotchke maker in the basement workshop or the family room seems like kind of a non-starter. The world is not hankering after more hands-on access to a wonderful world of clutter.
Meanwhile, Evans says:
People. Listen. 3D printing is not just 2D printing with another dimension added on. Yes, the names are very similar, but their uses are not even remotely analogous. We may reasonably conclude, therefore, that 1) 3D printing will not recapitulate the history of 2D printing, 2) as soon as you make an argument along those lines you lose all credibility and look like an idiot.
He suggests that paper printing is simply manipulation of information, while 3D printers produce “real stuff”. That’s pretty much true.
We agree and disagree with these points. Yes, personal 3D printing is not particularly useful to the general public – at the moment. One must remember that this is still the very earliest stage of development. It’s so early that we still haven’t even settled on the basic technology to be used by personal 3D printers: Is it extruded plastic or optically fused liquid resin? We Don’t Know Yet. There are a host of companies experimenting with these and other approaches, both technological and business. This could be a time analogous to 2D printing prior to inkjet tech or even dot-matrix tech.
Two conclusions: First, it’s way to early to make any calls on this. Secondly, it’s still a ton of fun. Start printing. Now.
Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!
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Welcome to Fabbaloo, one of the world’s oldest online news sources for 3D printing news. We’ve been in operation since 2007, where we first started examining the state of 3D printers. These devices are now relatively common among some circles in today’s world, but years ago it was extremely rare to see a 3D printer or even a 3D printed object.
At that time it was challenging to find any 3D printing news, so we decided to make our own site that covered 3D printer news, and even associated technologies like 3D scanning and 3D modeling. Today it is common to find 3D printers in schools, workshops and makerspaces, and you probably have been using 3D printed objects without even knowing they were 3D printed.
Today’s industry has finally taken up the challenge by installing thousands of industrial 3D printers, each producing previously impossible 3D printed parts that make today’s society far more efficient. The aerospace industry in particular has been producing many 3D printed parts, some even for flight critical purposes.
If you want to learn about 3D printers, then there’s no better place than Fabbaloo’s 3D printer news to see the latest happenings.
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