3D printing has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that it began to gain traction. People were fascinated by the possibility of being able to create physical objects using a 3D printer, and the technology was quickly adopted by industry professionals and hobbyists alike. However, despite its initial promise and popularity, 3D printing has yet to really take off in the way many had hoped. What went wrong?
The Cost Factor
When 3D printing first emerged on the scene, there was much hype surrounding its potential uses. Companies were eager to invest in this new technology—but only if they could make an adequate return on their investment. Unfortunately, printers that could produce high quality parts at a good speed cost thousands of dollars—a price tag which most companies weren’t willing to pay. The result is that many businesses balked at investing in a technology which simply didn’t offer enough value for money
The Complexity Problem
3D printing may have initially seemed like a simple process—just push a button and out comes your part—but the reality is far from straightforward. Anyone who has ever used a 3D printer knows just how complex it can be; there are numerous variables which need to be set correctly in order for your part to print successfully, such as layer height, temperature, material type etc. This complexity makes it difficult for users with limited technical knowledge (such as small businesses) to get up and running with 3D printing in an efficient manner
The Material Problem
3D printers can print with various materials including plastics, metals or even ceramics – but only if you have access to those materials in filament form (or powder form for metals). In addition to this limitation on materials available, many materials are either too expensive or simply not suitable for certain applications. As such, users are often forced into compromising when selecting their material of choice – either opting for an inferior material or paying through the nose for something more suitable – neither of which is desirable!
All things considered then; it’s clear why 3D printing hasn’t taken off quite as much as originally anticipated – cost, complexity and limitations on materials all play their part here. That said however; it would be foolish to write off this technology just yet – improvements are being made constantly which should make it easier (and more affordable) than ever before for businesses and hobbyists alike to benefit from what 3D printing has to offer! With any luck then; we may yet see this technology finally reach its full potential in the near future!