3D Printing: First Steps on the Path to Mainstream
The push for the mass market
Manufacturers are working hard to bring 3D printing to the mainstream. According to Cervantes, the industry has seen some very positive reactions from new adopters.
“With growing resources for consumers to create and share printable 3D models, expect the 3D printing ecosystem to facilitate increased consumer appeal with more relevant applications for home users,” says Cervantes. “Also expect growth in educational use of 3D printers this next year to influence more families to bring this technology home.”
Walker’s goal is to increase awareness of the benefits of 3D printing and show professionals that high-detail 3D printing is an affordable choice. “We think the mainstream appeal is there, as people start to see that they're not just limited to the rough models currently produced by consumer grade machines,” he says.
Moreno expects 3D printing to enter into early mainstream adoption in about one to two years. “Fortunately, these machines are already being used by many public forward organizations – universities, libraries, large businesses, shopping mall chains,” he says. “The more eyes on these machines, the more understanding and expectation of what they do, the more interest we expect from the mainstream consumers as they start to see the value of owning one in their own homes.”
Chang agrees. “I believe this will happen when there is a critical mass of 3D printers out in the wild,” he says. “Perhaps in mid-2015.”