MIS4596 CAPSTONE COURSE

Affordable 3D Printing May Be Just Around the Corner

Tiko – The Unibody 3D Printer

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!

 

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4 Responses to Affordable 3D Printing May Be Just Around the Corner

  • I think it will definitely impact the consumer industry. Even if it’s fairly expensive, it makes sense to pay a bunch for a 3D printer and print whatever you want, rather than buying individual items every so often. I also think that it won’t become fully mainstream until some celebrities/high-profile people start using them, then it will trickle down.

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  • 3D printing to me is a concept that is truly remarkable and will be a very very big market in the future. However, the key word here is future. Right now, like most newer technologies, it is very expensive and not attainable by most consumers. I like to think of it similarly to how the iPhone came about. It started out very expensive, but as time went on it became more simple and cheaper, and that is when it became popular. I can see something like this happening to 3d printing in the near future.

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  • I believe that this will impact the consumer industry greatly in the future. I do not think that 3D printers are going to be affordable for the general population for a VERY long time, so for the LEGO example, I feel that this would only make an impact once the price of 3D printers dramatically fall. I feel if they were affordable that everyone would be purchasing them and that the market would be huge for 3D printers. If 3D printers were affordable they would be the most convenient thing to have in the house.

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  • I think Tiko is awesome and is really going to make a significant impact on the consumer industry. If the price of $179 hold true throughout development and deployment–I think the pricing is perfect to reach a really wide audience. I’d definitely buy one. If they execute this right and offer easy-to-use companion software that anybody could learn to use, they could have a major hit on their hands with Tiko.

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