Make: Where Do We Really Stand On 3D Printing?
Make magazine has published an extensive opinion piece about 3D printing as part of its 3D Thursday series. The article is called 3D Printing Revolution: the Complex Reality.
The main thesis of the post is that while 3D printers are becoming increasingly popular, the reality might not match the hype. For one, designing for manufacturability is hard – from CAD software to industrial design techniques. Another issue is the durability and precision of materials used in 3D printing, such as ABS plastic, may not be engineering-grade.
Concluding, the author states:
One day, a silver bullet solution may materialize; if it does, it will be probably nothing like any of the existing technologies we are experimenting with. Until then, it pays to focus on the process, not on this week’s most-hyped tool.
These points are valid and one has to acknowledge that 3D printing won’t replace all manufacturing processes overnight. But look at the applications that are already commercial, from medical and dentistry to fashion to toys and games. Expect more to follow quickly with the rapid pace of innovation in 3D printing!