3D printing offers much promise. It is also full of hype as are most fledgling technologies. The promise is phenomenal: printed body parts, printed houses, printed food, printed cars etc. The most exciting news is how accessible this technology has become to the mass consumer. Five or six years ago when I started talking about 3D printers in our TIDES of Change keynote presentations very few people knew what they were or how they worked. Today most people are familiar with the concept of a 3D printer but not many have used one. Back then I made the prediction that within ten years everyone would have a 3D printer at home and that 3D printers would follow a trend similar to that of inkjet printers. Back in the 1980’s inkjet printers where only affordable to wealthy corporates. By the 1990’s manufacturers were giving them away for free. Partly because the cost of manufacturing inkjet printers had plummeted but also because the profits came from selling ink cartridges and not the printer itself.
As predicted history is repeating itself, you can now buy a 101Hero 3D printer for $49 from Kickstarter, where over 3,698 backers pledged $434,275 to help bring this project to life! $49 is about the cost of a pub lunch, that’s incredible! The 101Hero is described as a 3D Printing for work, home and play and gives everyone simple, affordable, and dependable 3D printer. Just a year or two ago domestic 3D printers were retailing for around £750. Watch out for the “free” 3D printer advert in the not too distant future.