But there are several factors that are barriers to entry. According to a recent article from theverge.com, 3D printing “has remained a niche hobby that requires expensive and ugly hardware.” Several companies like New Matter are hoping to break the mold and bring functional, beautiful design into every home at a price that is 1/10th of the cost of the majority of the printers that dominate the market. In addition to the cost barrier, the article explains that New Matter hopes to further expand on Makerbot’s Thingiverse, an online repository of thousands of pre-designed models that you can simply download and print.
There is also a large technical barrier to designing a 3D model, exporting the model for your printing, and configuring it to slice and print at certain temperatures, settings, and speeds. Cost of materials is still high, with spools of materials that act as “ink” ranging from $20 – $60 for a spool of ABS, PLA, and several other materials. Startups like Strooder aim to cut the price of materials and spools down by taking raw pellets designed for 3D printers.
Are you using 3D printers in your business? Are your customers asking for cheaper material alternatives? Leave your comments below!