• http://twitter.com/quigdes Kevin Quigley

    An excellent article Graham. This is one area where the industry needs to get their act together on. AM or 3D printing will always be a niche activity until someone comes up with a method of ensuring that parts print reliably and that the performance of those parts can be simulated during the design phase. Ironically enough, this may even become more critical for the low end products as consumers design and replicate objects that do have functional uses.

    If I were to predict future industry mergers I’s suggest a major AM/3D printing company joins with a simulation company or mainstream CAD/CAM company – they need that closed loop of design, simulation, production and testing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Iggysingapore Ian Gibson

    Graham – you echo a number of points I have also been raising for some time too. The safety issue aside, we also have a number of other points we must be aware of. For example; the fact that we are enabling everyone to come up with designs for new products, it does not necessarily mean these will be GOOD products.

    I see there is a lot of investor hype going on at the moment and voices of reason like yours need to be heard. I think however we must wait for the inevitable failures to occur so that the message eventually gets heard. At least it won’t be you or one of your loved ones being affected.

  • Cal Brabandt

    Yeah, there’s a lot of hype in the marketplace, but I’ve made several useful parts with my 3D printer. Most parts must be custom designed by people who have a least a clue about mechanical engineering and CAD, and this requirement separates efficacious usage of a 3D printer from the garden gnome crowd! The risks are similar to most DIY activities (reparing your car or lawn mower, building a deck over your backyard, etc.), I think you’re shaking that boogie man stick a bit too hard, Graham.

  • John Nash

    You make some good points, but I’m not in total agreement with the quality of “commercial” products. I don’t believe many of the products sold to consumers are thoroughly tested and some are absolutely pitiful. But that doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for 3d printing. I look at it as the ultimate tool for prototyping and hobbyist toys. And some of the results may actually be useful!