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3D Printing Isn't In The Stone Age Anymore

All forms of technology had to start somewhere at some point, and when a technology begins, it is typically very primitive. I want to talk to you about 3D printing, and how it has blown past this phase as well as where it is today. 

Atlanta Georgia recently hosted Rapid 2012, the biggest 3D printing conference in the North American continent. 3D printing has come a long way since 1979, and I personally believe it is beginning to expand at an exponential rate. These conventions haven’t been around for very long, and it is beginning to speak for the rise in popularity for 3D printing.


When 3D printing first came out, it was very expensive, inefficient, and bulky. Machines used for this additive manufacturing process were the size of small rooms, and they produced parts that held very low detail at small sizes. These pieces weren’t anywhere close to what we have today. I like to compare the premature forms of 3D printing to the premature forms of the modern computer. All machines were huge, inefficient, and expensive, yet they couldn’t do much of anything! It is more than likely that you have a mini-computer in your pocket right now as you read this article. Do you catch my drift?


Manufacturers such as Objet, Makerbot, 3D Systems, and Stratasys are working to make a “personal” 3D printing machine for almost anyone to afford. Think of Dell or HP launching the first home desktop; it was small enough to fit on a table, but it weighed 25 pounds and had a poor interface in comparison to what exists today. I think that is where we are at this current time period when it comes down to 3D printing. Just like the desktop computers could print documents, hold records, and do basic to intermediate functions, home 3D printers can do the same thing!


The Cube by 3D systems can build 5.5” x 5.5” x 5.5” models out of a variety of colored ABS plastics with less than 30 micron detail at around $1,200! The Makerbot series has had the Thing-o-matic model out for quite a while, but competition is removing its “say” in the market. Stratasys has launched the Mojo printer which creates slightly smaller, but slightly higher detailed prints than The Cube, at a higher price. Product developers have even been launching home DIY kits for Stereolithography (SLA) printers on the web for less than $2,400. We are now in the “test stage” for home printers. Small businesses and homes can afford to take these high detail FDM printers into their homes and offices; just imagine how well this will progress!


We are no longer in a world where the Uprintplus is the only desktop printer around running at over $20,000 nor are we in a world where the only affordable printer is a Makerbot that makes poor models. Variety is in existence today; the option of detail, material, color, finishes, and pricing is now up for discussion. The biggest improvement on 3D printing in my opinion is the competition! When 3D systems launched The Cube which creates higher detail models with more variety at a lower price than Makerbot’s modelsPsychology Articles, we started! Now there are quite a few models to choose from when considering a home printer. Just imagine how much further we will be within the next 5 years. Maybe the next 3 years. The next 2 years? Competition is beginning to drive this market to create better products at better prices.

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If you enjoyed this article, you might want to know what else is new with 3D Printing, or possibly you'd like to join a 3D Printing Community.

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