Believe the hype: Doesn’t the 3D printer deserve a little more excitement in mainstream technology news?
When the iPad broke onto the market, and ‘tablets’ became a thing, the whole world couldn’t believe it’s eyes. When the smartphone burst out of its former boundaries and claimed the podium for the world’s best handheld gadget, we all wanted one. When the ability to have apps, games and the internet on your television screens came around; we also really wanted one, and we wanted one now.
So my question is simple: why isn’t the 3D printer getting this same ‘public backing’ and ultimate hype that it seemingly deserves? Doesn’t the 3D printer hold the key to a myriad of bifurcating opportunities that only the most creative and inventive of us can conjure up? Surely the 3D printer opens us all up to whole world of new jobs, hobbies, pastimes and money-saving chances, so why aren’t we jumping up and down for joy? That’s what we, as big fans of the 3D printer, are here to get to the bottom about this week.
Lack of big brand backing
When a new product launches, we, as consumers, need to instantaneously recognise it. In the few seconds of brain-time we can give it – you’ be surprised how long the average 21st century person will spend on webpages, looking at adverts etc before they become bored – it needs to jump out and hit us in the face. Name. Brand. What it does.
The brand aspect of the consumer connection reinforces trust in the product, and enables us to become interested based on our past experience of the brand. With 3D printing, we don’t have a well-known brand getting behind the product. Makerbot, who are the most recognisable brand in the industry at the moment, are unknown outside of the niche market, and the amount of people that are ready to invest in a product without a known brand can drop sufficiently.
Complexity of processes
Not everyone is able to create a CAD (Computer Animated Design) file, and the majority of the general public may not even know what one is. Where do you go to get your downloadable CAD files? Which ones are legal? Then there are the materials, which sort do you buy? Which colour?
The whole process of 3D printing is manual and requires a little bit of techy know-how and initiative to get you off the ground. A lot of people may be put off by the amount of work and specialist knowledge it will take for them to create simple objects. Until we have a clear, easy, step-by-step all-in-one 3D printer with a straightforward and simple process, it will continue to alienate people and lead them to ask certain questions such as: what do i do?
Giving the 3D printer a job: what is it?
Another question which may be in the minds of potential consumers by the time the 3D printer ‘breaks through’, is ‘what is it?’
At this moment in time, the 3D printer is being marketed, reported on and sold as many different things indeed. It’s a life-saving implant printer for doctors and medical researchers, it’s a ‘fixer-upper’ for broken gadgets, odds and ends, it’s a mass printer that creates houses, film sets and machinery. The 3D printer isn’t one thing, and it doesn’t shout out what it is.
In many ways that is the beauty of the 3D printer, and it is why people like us here at TonerGiant are so excited and keen to get on with it and let the age of 3D begin, but simply put: many people just won’t know what it is. An iPod plays music, a Playstation plays games, a tablet allows you to browse the internet anywhere and all these must-have consumer goods hold a purpose that fills a void in our lives. The 3D printer does just about everything, which is why it is hard to market and hard to judge whether we want one or not.
So what can we hope for?
In short, we can hope for a new angle on the 3D printer, an angle that allows it to take on a form, a personality and a purpose. The processes for creating things needs to be simplified, made easier for those not technically-minded and innovative. Backed by the right brand, or given the right name, it could soon become something that we all understand, and it could go on to create the revolution that we in-the-know have been waiting for.