3D printing has risen to prominence as a mainstream technology in the past decade, although it is still seen as a somewhat niche concern by many.
Thankfully this misconception is beginning to slip as more people realize that 3D printing is becoming more accessible by the day. Here is a look at how this is being achieved and why it is relevant for individuals and businesses alike.
Dawn of the local service era
The biggest breakthrough in terms of 3D printing accessibility has occurred thanks to the rise of local service providers popping up to allow anyone to take advantage of both their equipment and expertise for projects of all shapes and sizes.
Many of these companies will also give you support in terms of optimizing the design and making sure that the results will come as close to your original plans as possible.
Furthermore the fact that you can also place orders online for these services breaks down the geographic barriers usually associated with local solutions. As such no matter where you are based, you should now be able to snap up 3D printed parts quickly and affordably.
The improved accessibility of 3D printing is clearly important because of the cost savings it affords smaller organizations and individuals looking to create completely custom components. Not needing to splash out on high end printing hardware, or worry about things like material and maintenance costs, gives customers more leeway in terms of budget.
However, it is also worth pointing out that the other reason that this broader availability of 3D printing should be celebrated is that it encourages innovation and risk-taking without the usual caveats.
If you want to rapidly prototype a product, pinpoint any flaws in the design and see whether your flash of inspiration is worth pursuing or should be put on the back burner, 3D printing services let you achieve this. You do not need to spend lots of cash and invest vast amounts of time into the creation of molding or tooling to make the parts required; 3D printing lets you put prospective components through their paces in a jiffy.
The final advantage worth noting is that 3D printing is not just relevant for the current crop of ambitious organizations, engineers and designers, but will also help to shape the next generation of enterprising young people.
More and more educational institutes are adopting 3D printing technology thanks to the ever-falling prices of desktop hardware, which means that this tech is not some unattainable pipe dream but an everyday reality for millions of students.
As you can see, 3D printing has lots to bring to the table, is already solving problems at critical times, and will be even more valuable as its accessibility improves going forward.