The latest Mini Maker Faire takes place this weekend in Vancouver and with every show it seems 3D printing service is getting bigger with more exhibitors and more people flocking to see the printers in action.
3D printing like jet packs and flying cars is a very simple concept but the technology, and possibilities, are what is really impressive.
3D printing technology is coming on all the time and 3D printing service is getting ever closer to other types of manufacturing in terms of cost per unit and are already the best way to make many one off bespoke items. When 3D printing service starts to compete with traditional techniques for medium sized runs of course it will become the game changing technology it has threatened to be.
The Maker Faire in Vancouver will feature a 3D printing village where the different technologies and capabilities will be on show with 3D Systems likely to be putting their The Cube entry level printer against the Makerbot Replicator again: as printers that the general public can actually afford to buy with a little saving these are the ones that draw the crowds.
While other 3D printing service are able to print in materials such as ceramics, glass and metal or can produce 3D printouts the size of a desk these are aimed at businesses and it is the 3D printers people can imagine having on their desks at home most want to see.
Many visitors to the Maker Faire will in fact be budding designer and entrepreneurs who will lead the 3D printing revolution, not satisfied to build a few designs for fun at home or replace a part on their cars many of these people have big ideas as manufacturers, but manufacturers able to work from home.
Before the industrial revolution cottage industries such as weaving really were done in people’s homes but mass production changed this, now though 3D printing could be about to put the power into small artisans hands again and consumers will be all the richer for the variety of products laid in front of them.
Some of the people descending on the Maker Faire to view the latest 3D printers aren’t the types who like to get their hands dirty in making things nor are they computer experts who can run complicated hardware and software but the whole point of the Replicator and the Cube is each are easy to use: if you can use a 2D printer you will probably be ok. A lot of the people attending will in fact be designers and it is their CAD skills that will be in demand when 3D printing service really take off.
Of course some 3D printed products will fail but with a low investment designers can afford to test market products where before they would have had to find a major manufacturer willing to take their design for a fee or small percentage and then invest thousands in setting up an initial production run that would take weeks or months.
How many manufacturers have realized yet the potential change that is coming is unclear but the 3D print enthusiasts seem to know all too well what 3D printing service means to them.