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Futurist: Thinking About 3d Printers

I am a parent, futurist, and technologist. My career has spanned the birth of personal computers to the rise of cloud computing.

The Snapmaker 3d printer

The Snapmaker 3d printer

3d Printing is an evolving market!

Several technology markets interest me right now. One of those markets is the growing bitcoin market. In particular, the growing reality of cryptocurrencies. I'm not going to spend any time in this column about cryptocurrencies, but I want to be careful. I have often talked about specialty printers as a market and as an interest. But the reality is printing continues to evolve. In particular 3D parenting continues to evolve. The original 3D printers were printing plastic at a little thicker rate than they do today. That means the model printed isn't as precise. Those printers cost around 1200 to 1500 dollars. You can get a good 3D printer that will print fairly thin layers of plastic for a reasonable price. Reasonable is between US$500 to 1000. These printers print much thinner initial plastic; the results are much more precise than they used to be!


You're paying for capability. That's why I love the Snapmaker printers. The actual printer is metal that makes it sturdy. But more importantly, they are modular 3D printers. I wrote an article probably five years ago now talking about the rise of modular drones. A drone that could have multiple payloads that it carried. That included sonar, 4K camera, waterproof camera, lidar, clear image systems all sorts of different styles of cameras that a drone can carry. The same is true when you consider a modular 3D printer. And Snapmaker is, without a doubt, the best one I've encountered. A printer that allows you to do laser engraving, 3D plastic printing, and CNC woodcarvings. All with reasonably easy to use software and all in a sturdy metal frame that doesn't shake and wobble while printing. That is the unfortunate reality of some 3D printers. They are not extremely unstable, and when they print, they shake.


Sure, so one of the things that I don't often do in my blogs as a don't often share company names. I do, however, share company names in two distinct situations. The first is horrible customer service, and the second is exceptional customer service. When my smart microburst arrived to set, I had a problem with the heated dad. I reached out to customer support within about a week they solved my problem. My heated print bed wasn't working properly. With her plastic and 3D plastic printing, you need a needed bed so that the plastic cools quickly enough that it hardens but not so quickly that it sticks to whatever you printed on. The reason it took a week was not the Snapmaker's customer service. The fact that I work during the weekend meant there were sometimes 8 to 12 and 14 hours between my responses. They shipped me a new heated that unit and my 3D printers worked perfectly. Again exceptional customer service is critical and should be called out.

the 3Doodler pen - create by drawing!

the 3Doodler pen - create by drawing!

3Doodler, a pen that writes in plastic!!!

A 3d printer can take up a lot of space. Did I mention they are noisy? (they are very noisy!) About six years ago, a small company introduced a 3d printing pen. It's called 3Doodler. It is a pen that heats and prints in plastic (metal or wood). Not a pen that you particularly want to hold one end of it because it extrudes plastic. And you can drop it with plastic. I'm not adept enough to create 3D designs with the pen, but I can use it to patch and repair problem areas and 3D prints that I may. I have to make sure I use the same color of plastic. But the other thing about this pen is it can print and more than plastic. The company has created a way for you to print with would. You can also print in metal. It makes me wish I spent more time paying attention in our class when I was younger.


Now I'm not releasing my what's going to be big in 2022 column early. I was thinking about the concept of 3D printing. And how much it has evolved in just the last eight years. Many companies now use 3D printers to prototype new ideas rapidly. I know that I frequently use my 3D scanner to scan an object and print it quickly. Not to get around buying replacement parts, but just actually short-term solutions held together with plastic. Rather than waiting two weeks for the metal part to ship. And that brings me to the point of today's column and ultimately where my mind is right now about 3D printing.


I suspect, and I understand this, I'd is likely that I am on the far edge of the mark. Most people don't see a structured need for 3D printing yet. Most people probably won't see a need for a 3D printer in their home for a long time. If potentially ever for that simple fact. What I think and believe now is that most people will know someone with a 3D printer. I have been printing sand toys for small portable Zen garden-like sand trays. It is a portable sand tray for a child. It's a great way to connect with the child and give them a sand tray that they can then up. Small and portable, and you can 3D print virtually any type of tool you want in plastic. Big enough that a child won't swallow with, but small enough that it fits in the sand tray.


3d printing is a Niche Market today. It is a growing Niche but a niche nonetheless. What you can do with the 3d printer now is so powerful than just the 3d printers of 8 years ago. The price continues to come down. The capabilities continue to increase! I don't believe every home will have a 3d printer, but I am sure every home will know a family that can use one!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 DocAndersen

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