3D Printing: What is it Good For?

3D Printing: What is it Good For?

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. 


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