Affordable 3D Printing May Be Just Around the Corner
Earlier in the semester when I gave a presentation on 3D printing, I suggested that Consumer 3D Printing won’t be mainstream for another 5-10 years. Well, it looks like it may be here sooner than expected. A team of engineers recently set out to develop a cheap, high-quality consumer 3D printer. With their product, named Tiko, they did just that. Tiko is a 3D printer that is easy to use, non-proprietary, accurate, Wi-Fi enabled, and even comes with its own software to design 3D models on (and be sent right to the printer) — and you can get one for a $179 pledge! This piqued a lot (well, several) peoples’ interest. The group of engineers created a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $100,000 in order to further develop and mass produce the printer. As of now, with 10 days left in the campaign, $2,251,129 has been pledged by 12,663 backers — that is around 178x what they asked for.
As the Kickstarter campaign shows, there is a lot of interest in consumer 3D printing. With Tiko, it looks like it may soon be a reality. I personally think a product like Tiko can make a huge impact, especially in the toy industry. As I mentioned a lot in more presentation earlier in the semester, I think that a company like LEGO should be concerned by the arrival of product like Tiko. If I had one, for example, I could print all of the LEGO pieces that I want, and for much cheaper than buying actual LEGO sets.
What do you guys think, though? Do you guys think this could make a significant impact in the consumer industry, or is it still too early for consumer 3D printing to enter the mainstream market? Let me know what you think!