Anyway, the reason for this post? A noticeable consensus between the two Editors of the only two trade magazines that focus heavily on AM and 3DP in the UK. And strangely enough, both aired similar opinions when discussing the arrival of the two new ZCorp 3D printers (see previous post).
In a blog post dated 27th July, entitled 'The Rise and Rise of 3D Printing,' James Woodcock, Editor of the TCT Magazine stated:
"Some see the ultimate goal for 3D Printers to be on every desk next to your home computer. I don't see it happening myself, but I realise that could be a 'one computer in every town in America' type of statememt."
And then, today I was flicking through the latest print edition of Develop3D and came across this commentary from Al Dean, Editor:
"The mass adoption of 3D printing has been talked about for some time, but I'm not entirely convinced that everyone is going to have a 3D printer in their home for a good long while .... if at all."
The similarity in their opinions is striking, but notice that they both include a get-out clause!!
Having been there myself, it is a tricky course to negotiate. One can't be too negative, there are clients to consider after all, and they sell these machines and pay your bills!! On the flip side, if you go out too positive then you risk credibility.
For my tuppence worth, I am still where I was about 6 months ago, I think that the volumes of machines sold, starting at the entry level sub-£5k machines, will continue to increase. System and material performance will be incrementally improved, as will usability. This will open up the rest of the market and when one or more of the system vendors taps into a universal application and is in a position to scale up their own production, then at that point the universe will be the limit!
For positivity and a genuine interest in making this happen — my vote goes to Shapeways. This is a company that is doing AND saying, albeit online only. I wonder what would happen if they went into 2D print????