What Will it Take for 3D Printing to Go Mainstream?

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While 3D printing is undeniably a big technology trend to watch this year, it’s still unknown whether the conditions are right for 3D printing to go mainstream.

Currently, 3D printing is mainly used by large companies and hobbyists but hasn’t yet reached the point where a 3D printer is found alongside other necessary appliances in the home.

3D printing, for all the advancements it has made, is still very much a niche sector, which leaves analysts and enthusiasts alike wondering: just what will it take for 3D printing to go mainstream?

Here is a look at some of the possible game-changers that could give 3D printing the boost it needs to take over the world.

  • Prices – Your average, everyday consumer can’t afford a 3D printer. At least not one that’s cool enough to make it a viable purchase. In the future, lower prices and improved features could make 3D printers more appealing to more people.
  • Software – Better software and easy-to-use systems could take 3D printers to new levels of success with consumers. Adobe’s recent move to integrate 3D modeling with Photoshop’s Creative Cloud is a great example of a step in the right direction towards making 3D printing more accessible for the masses.
  • A “Killer App” – Most importantly, the general public needs a compelling reason to actually purchase a 3D printer. Sure, you can do some geeky stuff with 3D printers, but to make a 3D printer a must-have machine for the average consumer, a compelling application to create something that can only be made on the 3D printer, will likely be what it takes for consumers to welcome 3D printers into their homes.

What do you think? Will 3D printing reach consumer markets en masse this year? 

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  • Greg Crowe

    combine the printheads, plastic print, metal print and protein print and you have a replicator. what to do with the objects that are printed, that are no longer wanted.
    i would use the printer to print parts i need, small toys to give away, cell phone cases. a cup, filled with coffee and a bowl of soup, silverware/plasticware sets for parties, then recycle them back to print later

    • http://cmro.travis-starnes.com/ Travis

      Yep, we are not far away from replicators (or at least the functionality of them). Science is amazing.

  • johnBas5

    Having the same quality including size and fine (or good enough) resolution as conventional processes would make many household items the killer app for 3d printing.