After the invention of 3D printing in the 1980s, industries were excited about the progress of this new technology was undergoing.
By 2000s people were dreaming about printing things at the convenience of their homes and watch miracles happen every day. Some even expected 3D printers to become as common as a microwave.
Everything seemed to come from some sci-fi movie. Until it was not. What Happened? Manufacturing of 3D printers for mass consumers failed for many reasons. These 3D printers did not match consumer’s expectations.
They were bought into production for masses when the technology was a fledgling. While some people were expecting it to print phones for them which is a totally unrealistic expectation for a machine of that caliber, others were not able to figure out what to do with them.
Hence, 3D printers just fall flat for masses. These printers can only make small plastic objects, like fixing washing machine by 3D printing a small part or print toys.
3D printers were offering to manufacture small parts when people were expecting to get a whole product. Also, there is a limitation of material that can be used. They can print only plastic objects.
Even though using them is has a little learning curve, the product that it delivered was of mediocre quality. And the quality of the product was not consistent. Moreover, the product had less durability as compared to its Injection mold counterparts. They did not
deliver value for money.
For the industrial purpose, 3D printing is gradually spreading its wings. It is widely being used in many industries like automobile, medicine, and health care. Still, it has its set of challenges. Lack of standardization is one of the concerns for industries.
There is no assurance that a printer will perform the same as another even if they are exactly the same. As the cost involved is too high to take risk manufacturers to hesitate to upgrade to 3D printing. Another hurdle for businesses is the lack of expertise in 3D printing.
Businesses need to invest time and money to train existing employees as most of them are not accustomed to design, perform and operate machines. 3D printing mostly uses plastic as a material for manufacturing. Plastic requires significantly more electricity consumption. Also, it is responsible for the increase in pollution at an alarming rate.
Industries which are trying to incorporate environment-friendly practices find it repulsive. Even with all the challenges, 3D printing is one of the most promising technologies in recent times. It has provided a solution to a lot of problems and has given direction to many new experiments and researches.
While the world is rooting for its success, Continuous innovation, invention, and creativity is the key to it.