Archives for the category: 3D printing cold shower realists
November 8, 2013
Despite the technology's potential and hype, Stratasys, the most important 3D-printing company only sold 5,925 printers last quarter, reports The Atlantic.
3D printing is the next big thing, according to some tech pundits. The former editor of Wired magazine, Chris Anderson, for example, says 3D printing will be bigger than the web. Many proponents see parallels between where 3D printing is now and where computers were in the pre-Apple "homebrew" days of the 1970s. The implication is: 3D printers are only for hobbyists now, but eventually, everyone will have one.
The industry may get to that level of ubiquity, but judging by the actual sales of its largest companies, there is a long way to go.
5,925 printers sold last quarter, that's two-thousand 3D printers a month. For scale, 80 million PCs were sold in the third quarter, and that industry has been slumping.
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emily | 10:01 PM | permalink
May 28, 2013
The technology is decades old, but now there's an ecosystem in place (which includes my own company) that moves it beyond the maker edges to mainstream center. So now more than ever I'm asked for an insider's view on the hype vs. realities of 3-D printing and where it's going.
-- 3-D printing won't replace other manufacturing technology.
-- We need a different kind of Moore's-like Law for 3-D printing.
-- The 3-D printing ecosystem is changing.
-- 3-D printing needs better business models.
-- Two important research directions are printing electronics and bioprinting .
-- The next shift is from prototyping to limited production.
-- 3-D printing won't bring manufacturing back to the United States.
Read full article in Wired.
emily | 6:54 PM | permalink
March 22, 2013
Wired showers on any parade thinking of celebrating 3D printing going mainstream any time soon...
... The idea that you will have a factory running on top of your kitchen counter any time soon is nonsense. Look around your average home and think about what it would take to replicate much of the junk you have lying around. You’ll need 12 different types of glass, 30 different kinds of steel, as many as 1,000 types of plastic and the variety of colors you’ll want. Then there’s the nuts and bolts, and the special finishing room you’d need.
Even if you could print out some version of an iPhone using fancy electronic deposition inks (in the clean room you also built) and laser-powered metal sintering, you’d end up with a lousy looking iPhone.
Read full article. Image from Tony Buser on flickr.
emily | 12:07 PM | permalink
February 13, 2013
In Tuesday night's State of the Union address, President Obama took his "magnet for new jobs and manufacturing" and stuck it right on a 3D printing company in Ohio, the technology behind which, he said, "has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything." The Atlantic begs to differ.
.. A look at the rapidly growing industry's challenges reveals that it may not be growing as fast as the president would like — not in its ability to manufacture at speed or to coalesce like Silicon Valley, not in its legal mess, and maybe not even in short-term job creation.
The hype cycle, from the tech world and the business community alike, has put the 3D printing "revolution" on the same fast track as the personal computer — both began as hobbyist trends, both with promise as major industries unto themselves, changing lives and creating jobs. As of now, however, 3D printing hasn't hatched, despite all sorts of promise and prototype practicality. And it might take a lot more time and money than anyone's willing to admit for this niche market to move from garage industry to big business.
Read full article.
emily | 11:01 PM | permalink
February 11, 2013
In last week's opinion piece foe De Zeen Magazine, Sam Jacob argues that instead of liberating us, 3D printing will merely "bind us even more closely to fewer and fewer corporations".
The overarching narrative surrounding 3D printing presents it as a liberating technology. It argues that the technology will free us from organised, centralised production of the industrial era. And it suggests that this radical break will in turn transform the political, economic and social structures that industrialisation precipitated.
... Let’s face it: 3D printing might give us a million new ways to make objects, but it is unlikely to undo our late capitalist relationship with objects. If the history of the internet is a lesson, then technology only accelerates us further towards the horizon of consumerism, deeper into the depths of digital modernity.
emily | 3:53 PM | permalink
February 1, 2013
Once you start down the path of considering the 3-D printer’s evolution — and even more so, that of the bioprinter — you get irrevocably lost in a forest of dystopian/utopian possible outcomes. Grantland reports on the stranger side of 3D printing.
... Forbes doesn’t know (see number eight) what “new products” with “magical properties” will be made available by way of 3-D printers, and neither do we. This is the appeal. Right now, the focus is on the technology more than it is on its output — guitar pick holders, salt and pepper shakers.
Some of the copy accompanying these things (and tests for things) seems to acknowledge the bizarre nature of whatever object is being hawked: a life mask of Abe Lincoln, disembodied and sleepy-looking, is described with a disclaimer that “We have no reason to believe it is real or not.”
As 3D printers evolve so do their torture tests ensuring our perpetual disappointment.” On a very small scale, and in a sort of fun way, flipping through the 3-D printed marketplace is like browsing other people's god complexes.
What this technology can do, and does do, is offer us a glimpse of the horizon from our rocking chairs on the nursing home porch: It belongs to the future.
Read full article.
emily | 8:33 AM | permalink
January 20, 2013
Another article from a 3D printing sceptic. Barry Randall in a (devil's advocate) opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch. 3D printing nonbelievers are important to listen to and offer an interesting perspective. I file these in a category of my blog called 3D printing naysers.
According to MarketWatch, there is no doubt that 3D printing offers tangible benefits to manufacturers, shortening product-development times and reducing waste. But there are two dangers on the horizon for investors: 1) the belief that a consumer-oriented mass market will develop for these machines, and 2) the destructive cannibalization of these companies' profitable high-end devices.
First: the consumer market. Consumer prices are going down, but getting consumers to buy millions of these devices isn't about the price of the box. It is about the time and effort necessary to make anything useful.
Easy-to-use CAD-CAM software doesn't exist. Catia, AutoCAD, Creo and other CAD programs are powerful, but as yet they have not become easy to use, even for professionals. So the idea that the existence of cheap 3D printing will somehow beget easy-to-use design software is delusional.
Dont' compare 3D Printing going mainstream with desktop publishing. Some have compared the arrival of cheap 3D printers with that of cheap word-processing software and inkjet printers 30 years ago. But that was different because typing was a skill already possessed by the majority of educated adults... The ability to use even rudimentary 3D design software isn't a common skill, nor is it one picked up easily.
Not so sure about this, Makerbot Thingiverse with Customizer is offering templates that you can customise with no 3D design skills needed. (emily)
On the factory floor. Manufacturing operations managers will be test-driving all the new low-end devices and pressuring their traditional suppliers for a good explanation why they're paying so much.
Read full article.
emily | 9:08 AM | permalink
January 7, 2013
According to Jessica Leber for MIT Technology Review, inexpensive 3-D printers aimed at consumers are toys, not the factories of the future.
... The big drawback for consumers is that 3-D printers are still tricky to use and very limited in what they can make. The objects they produce are not just fairly crude but quite small. What’s more he hardware requires precise calibrations that will be beyond the patience of many users and operating the software is significantly more complicated than clicking “Print” from a Word document.
Another problem: once you’ve made yourself an iPhone case and a Yoda bust, what else is worth making? The answer is not entirely obvious, says Eric Wilhelm, founder of Instructables, an online catalogue of how-to tutorials. Wilhelm, who has been tracking the 3-D designs being created, says the bulk of them are models of people’s heads, often their own.
Read full article. image from a time lapse Make: video of a Yoda bust being 3D printed.
emily | 9:13 PM | permalink
January 2, 2013
Joris Peels interesting analysis on Voxelfab.
If we speak of the future of this technology than ultimately there will be no money in it.
... Eventually, all the 3D printing software, all the machines, all the material and all the files will be free. This means that 3D printing will be poised to suck the value out of manufacturing. This sustainable ecosystem of complimentary tools will, much like Craigslist did for newspaper classified ads, drain the value from the manufactured world. With more things being 3D printed and less things being mass produced mass manufacturing will, imperceptibly initially, become less economical and viable. It is in this manner that eventually there will be no money in 3D printing or any other manufacturing, design or distribution.
Read full article to understand how Peels comes to the above conclusion.
emily | 9:05 PM | permalink
December 31, 2012
An excellente article from Innovation Investment Journal explaining the short comings of 3D printing today and what it will take for 3D printing to actually replace manufacturing technology.
The cost of creating things using a 3D printer ‘goes down with complexity’: the more complex the item being printed, the less it costs to print it.
Usually, the more complicated something is (i.e., the more parts and sub-parts it is made from and the more complex the resulting assembly process happens to be) the more it costs to make.
But, bizarrely enough, 3D printing doesn’t tend to ‘struggle’ in any cost-incurring way based upon how intricate the design of the item being manufactured happens to be: a 3D printer prints a complex 3D shape just as easily as it prints a simple one.
... If you were wondering which unflattering terms manufacturing industry insiders use to characterise the shortcomings of 3D printing when compared to other forms of industrial production, you might want to check these out:
-- agonizingly slow operation
-- niche applications only
-- extremely low throughput per station
-- hard to scale
-- mostly small items only
-- unsuited to volume production
-- still in its earliest stages of development
-- mostly plastic-only products
-- imited range of fabrication materials
Read full article.
emily | 10:06 AM | permalink
November 23, 2012
Way beyond playing the devil's advocate, Willard Foxton at The Telegraph goes all out in tearing down the hopes, and dreams surrounding 3D printing.
Pick up any technology magazine, and you'll find gushing articles about how the world is going to be completely transformed by 3D printing – everyone from Wired to the Economist has speculated on changes to society that 3D printing will bring.
Having talked to a bunch of manufacturing engineers, I'm not so sure. All the enthusiasm for the "revolution" seems to come from journalist observers of the 3D printing scene, the companies offering the "revolutionary technology", and a handful of Lefty academics thrilled by the idea of abolishing property.
People actually involved in manufacturing are not so sure that it's magic.
-- The technology just isn't there yet – even successful prints create models that look like they've been left on a radiator for a few hours.
-- You have to appreciate how expensive and how specialised most factory tooling is. You can run [a 3D Printer] for six months and never make the same item twice.
-- It would be 10 to 15 years before printers able to create factory-quality products would appear, and that ones able to do metal would probably never make it into the home.
-- None of the current methods of home 3D printing ... are even close to reaching the standards a machine would require.
-- 3D printing is the microwave of manufacturing. Like microwaves, 3D printing will be important, but this isn't the industrial revolution that techno-libertarians would have you believe.
In 1995, another luminary didn't believe in the Internet tidal wave either.
Read full article.
emily | 2:53 PM | permalink
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