Analyst house Gartner has caught the 3D printing bug with its latest forecast on the future of the industry, and predicts enterprise-quality printers being cheap and plentiful by 2016. "3D printing is a technology accelerating to mainstream adoption," said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner. "The hype leads many people …
"Print My Ride"
A pint for the author for that one. Happy Friday.
These things are pretty nice, but they do have limitations. Mostly in the material, and the size of the object.
Soon there will be a 'standard' file format (like PDFs) that we can all pass around to make cool things. As for 2nd amendment issues, it might be similar to having a PDF of your local currency. The PDF itself is one thing, the output is quite another. I'll leave it to legislators to really put a stop to this nonsense somehow. Given their predilections they might very well ban them.
So, is making something like publishing it? Free speech and all that. Time will tell.
Re: Size limitations??!!
STL is pretty much the standard for 3d modeling nowadays, almost every program either uses it natively or can export it.
I don't think 3d printers will become a household item until there's a modeler that doesn't suck. Every year the sculpting software get a little better, and businesses are opening to scan in the real world. One, called Made To Measure, opened up down the street from my office a couple months ago. They've got some REALLY nice toys.
The consumables need to come down in price too. Photopolymer resins have made good resolution possible, but the stuff costs a fortune (200 bucks a liter), and I don't think there's one available that can be burned out for metal casting yet. Lots of work still to do before it becomes more than novelty tech.
Why Mobile Service?
There are plenty of CNC shops that will use your model and can produce a far higher quality out if metal (or plastic or wood) and these places can't really survive on walk in business. What makes Gartner think a mobile service that offers a lesser quality product than is already available will work?
CNC is traditional subtractive manufacturing, and can't do everything that 3d printing can, and it is not what you'd call cheap (except when compared to hiring a machinist to make stuff by hand). Don't get me wrong, CNC mills are great, it's even something I could see myself doing as a "second act" career, but it's not really in competition with 3d printing.
Once again, gartner 6 months behind for the management-by-in-flight-magazine crowd
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