When the conversation goes “and so what do you do for a living?” and I start talking about 3D printing people’s eyes start to glaze over and I get responses like “yeah I saw that on TV once” or “cool”. People are just not interested in having an amazing machine that can print just about anything smaller than a breadbox parked next to their home computer. Why would they when they can buy the same things from internet giants like Amazon or their nearest Walmart superstore? Even thought the plastic is inexpensive 3D printers range from $350 to $3500 (FDM type 3D printers). I paid $1350 for my Lulzbot Mini so I have to print a lot of plastic items to get my money back in savings. Below are 3D printed desk organizer and business card holders.
When I bought my printer I was so excited. I asked all my friends and family “what can I make for you, I have this new 3D printer” … more bewildered stares. So I made toys, phone cases, bracelets, hostess gifts and toothpaste tube squeezers. Everyone can relate to a phone case and with physical item in hand coupled with my explanation that 3D printers work like glue guns – they melt plastic instead of glue and put down layers about the thickness of hair one at a time even my 89 year old mother came to understand what can be accomplished with a 3D printer. Some of my “prints” below.
Your average consumer may not be ready however 3D printing is infiltrating our society and it is only a matter of time before everyone will have one. I see hobbyists printing drone parts and model car tires at home. There are professionals: Architects printing models, Engineers producing prototypes, Librarians and Educators teaching about 3D printers and 3D modeling, Artists printing custom jewelry in metals. As for myself? I’m having a blast 3D printing. I’ve learned how to use a modeling program and have come out with a few new designs of my own. Below Scrubbie and Modern Mistletoe.