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The first iteration of desktop 3D printing was primarily “hobbyist” level and involved serious time, problem solving, and patience. The next iteration began when units such as the Makerbot Replicator 2, Cube, Ultimaker, and PrintrBOT began to take hold. I’ve identified a number of features that I believe will help win over dubious potential buyers. In order to move away from the stigma of 3D printing as merely a “fun project,” speed should be top priority. A leveled build plate is the cornerstone for successful 3D prints and a common denominator for print failure. Some companies are designing several Cartesian-based manufacturing processes into one platform, combining 3D printing, milling, laser engraving, cutting, or 3D scanning.
For Makerbot’s 5th generation series, a new swappable extruder unit was designed for easy maintenance and troubleshooting – especially for less technical audiences or those who aren’t interested in the “tinkering” aspects of 3D printing. When a digital model is sent to 3D printing software, it’s converted into a set of instructions (known as G-code) that a 3D printer will understand and follow. Visualizing a model in the digital world helps anticipate how the physical object will look once 3D printed. Filament cartridges with proprietary designs or “smart sensors” are more trouble than they’re worth and drive away the households they’re targeting.
If a general degree of maintenance is still required for a 3D printer, especially if a consumer has to work with technical support, easier troubleshooting ergonomics will help keep things calm. Whether for engineers or not, friendlier and more proactive design features are essential to capturing the attention of the “not sure if I should wait until the technology gets better” audience. Dennis Bella is a freelance writer with diverse range of experience in 3D printing, software, and technology. Making A Cardboard Desktop Organizer Pinterest Pictures, Making A Cardboard Desktop Organizer Facebook Images, Making A Cardboard Desktop Organizer Photos for Tumblr.
While FDM continues to expand in function, flexibility, and filament variety, there’s still an adoption gap – a disconnect that needs to be solved if 3D printers are to invade every household.
As maker communities gathered and the RepRap movement rose, an open source design initiative helped spark the desktop 3D printing revolution.
Although these printers (and others) succeeded in wooing early adopters, the broader market remained apprehensive.


How can companies make desktop additive manufacturing (using FDM) as easy to operate as a microwave?
The aim is to move away from the hobbyist mentality and focus on fail-safe features, productivity, and ease of use. The traditional technique of measuring plate-to-nozzle distance using a sheet of torn paper has to end. A scalable 3D printer that utilizes multiple volume sizes will help consumers see the utilitarian value in their purchase. FABTotum and Piranha FX offer “multi-purpose personal fabrication devices” that may help shoe-in “The Jetsons” age for households. Otherwise known as “slicing software”, it’s available in either proprietary or open source formats and an array of print settings.
As virtual reality becomes more attainable for the home user, so will the ability to study a 3D model in a digital environment. Allowing consumers to price shop their filament without being bound to one manufacturer’s proprietary design is vital and economically sound. From color-coded controller board wiring to easy timing belt calibration, the maintenance process needs to be as simple as setting up your stereo or computer via plug and play. In his former life, he was a 15 year veteran in IT security sales, CAD quality assurance, and technology public relations.
Word spread about long or failed prints, troubleshooting issues, and accompanying frustration.
All things being equal, we know that a moving nozzle spewing hot plastic layer by layer can only be so accurate, so fast, or so dependable. You have to prove to households there is a net gain in productivity when using a 3D printer. Faster print times mean better productivity at home and an appreciation for quickly fabricating objects instead of having to buy them. It also opens the door for additional revenue from value added products such as expansion kits. Household friendly 3D printing software requires additional simplification and predictive capabilities. VR allows modelers and designers to test, live, and experience their design from alternate points of view.


Proprietary cartridges add complexity where it’s not necessary and potential for additional failure. The goal should be to make the repairs or replacements for common issues as easy as building Ikea furniture or replacing your computer’s DVD drive. If the printer is providing a problematic core experience, getting Wi-Fi to work will be the last problem on their mind.
To win consumer hearts and minds, we’ll need to push the boundaries in usability that rivals any home appliance.
While offering his own 3D printed items, Dennis works with clients to create a variety of designs, from dimensioned parts to artistic sculptures. Assuming FDM continues its pace for the home or small office market (considering other technologies such as SLA and SLS are steadily lowering in cost and becoming easier to use) there’s still plenty of room for innovation. From 3D printing small toys to large closet shelving units, marketers can increase the focus on their brand’s “at-home” or DIY capabilities. Makerbot and Zyyx printers incorporate filament sensing capabilities that pause the printer in the event of clogs or feeding issues. Tighter support integration between the printer, its ergonomics, and customer service will induce buyer confidence and may even get buyers hooked on DIY upgrades down the road. He is a graduate of Northeastern University in Mechanical Engineering Technology and received certification in Technical Communications from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Zyxx has also added detection features that sense warping, curling, or loose objects during printing. The finished physical 3D printed model, as well as the seamless experience to create it, is what the home market is searching for. Before printing begins, the surface-compensating leveling system engages and eliminates the need for manual plate adjustments. The probe positions itself at each corner of the plate, adjusting the print plane automatically.



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